AN AIRBUS engineer, who has been at the heart of ground-breaking work in the aerospace field, has been awarded an honorary PhD from the University of the West of England.

Jenny Body OBE FRAeS was presented with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Engineering in recognition of her significant contribution to engineering by UWE Bristol's Faculty of Environment and Technology at Bristol Cathedral.

Born in Bristol, Jenny worked for Airbus in its various guises for nearly 40 years after joining the company as an undergraduate apprentice in 1971.

Speaking after receiving her degreee, she said: "When I started my studies here the only choices were mechanical or electrical engineering and I was the only girl in the class.

"Economic times may be uncertain, however recovery and growth can be achieved by investment in the major projects which only engineers can deliver. Engineering is a great career with outstanding opportunities to develop, work throughout the world and make a real difference."

After a spell in research and technology management, she became the engineering leader of the Nimrod wing design team at Filton.

She was subsequently responsible for ongoing wing developments and repairs on in-service Airbus aircraft before moving to the A400M team as wing design team leader.

Jenny then returned to research and technology management before retiring in October 2010. She was Airbus's most senior female engineer.

Jenny was awarded the OBE at the end of 2010 for services to engineering.

In May 2013 she became the first female president of the Royal Aeronautical Society.