School Keynote Speaker

One of the first Royal Air Force openly gay pilots

 Pilot to the Royal Family and Prime Minister


Airline and former Royal Air Force pilot Matt Lindley talks candidly about being one of the first openly gay pilots in the Armed Forces.  Listen to his journey of being bullied at school, suffering self-doubt and having a childhood dream to fly, almost crushed by a ban on gay serving personnel in the Forces.  Matt talks on a personal level how he always felt an outsider at school, how he had no support network to lean on. He discusses mental health, stress and the importance of talking about inner feelings. Matts coping mechanism included venting his aggression on the rugby pitch and an inner determination to overachieve. As school Head Boy, 1st XV rugby player, Matt conformed to the macho stereotypes of 1980s society, he suppressed his most inner feeling in a very unhealthy way.

Above all else Matt had an inner drive and determination to be an RAF pilot. On leaving University Matt joined the Service, knowing that being 'out' could have resulted in a possible prison sentence.

Matt describes the thrill of flying an RAF fast jet and transporting members of the Royal Family. His story is one of self-motivation and drive which led to his dream being fulfilled. But this is not just another 'coming out story'.  Instead, Matt uses his positive experience to highlight the need for acceptance, drive, and determination.  He combines a message of tolerance, with the excitement of flying in the Armed Forces

”Prove them wrong”



  • Goal setting, focus and determination

  • Empathy

  • Bullying

  • Mental resilience

  • Stress management and its effect on performance

  • Postive culture / attitude change

  • Friendship & support



Click on the symbol below to watch a 4 minute edited version of Matts latest address to the Kings School Wimbledon.

Matt Lindley is an exceptional speaker; he is highly engaging and speaks with confidence, clarity and with a relaxed and down to earth quality. He peppers his remarkable and inspirational life story (both tragic and positive) with immensely effective footage from his childhood at school and also his career in the RAF. Whilst his talk focuses on what he so cleverly refers to as the ‘elephant in the room’ (his struggles to come to terms with his sexuality), his talk is utterly relevant to all. He speaks of marginalisation in general and promotes so effectively the huge importance of empathy and inclusivity in every area of society, whether at school or work. He has a remarkable ability to build up a rapport with the pupils in just a few minutes of his talk, ensuring that they relate to him and thus making his talks all the more effective. In particular, he knows how to speak to pupils on their level and uses clever analogies to ensure that they understand how he was feeling as a teenager (analogies such as his ‘stress bucket’, on which the tap was eventually fitted to relieve him of his secret). How Matt managed to captivate a room of 400 without one pupil drifting off is quite extraordinary; the manner in which the pupils were entirely inspired and engaged in his talk was further demonstrated in the willingness of pupils to ask personal and meaningful questions during the Q/A session. Matt was frank and willing to be an open book thoughout the talk which only went to enhance the huge effect his talk had on the pupils.
It is no exaggeration to say that Matt’s talk would have been life-changing for many pupils in the audience and will have given many the confidence to pursue their goals or to the courage to ‘come out’ or face their sexuality. Many experienced colleagues told me ‘he was the best speaker they had ever seen in their career’.
— James Ross | Teacher of Modern Languages | King's College School Wimbledon