Prince William visited London’s Air Ambulance Charity yesterday morning at the Royal London Hospital, having flown himself in a helicopter from Kensington Palace.
“We landed at Kensington Palace, we put him in the right seat, the captain’s seat of the aircraft,” Neil Jeffers, the Charity’s chief pilot, told reporters. “He has only flown the aircraft a couple of times but was happy to fly it. So he did all the flying from the palace. He’s very switched on, he’s passionate about it and flies incredibly well for someone who doesn’t fly that often.”
William told Jeffers that he hasn’t flown since June.
William visited the Charity to learn more about its activities as it launches its 30th anniversary appeal. William met with various members, including doctors and paramedics and pilots and the crew to hear about their experiences as first responders.
It was announced ahead of his visit yesterday morning that he would become patron of the Charity’s 30th anniversary appeal.
“We are delighted that The Duke of Cambridge has accepted the role of Patron of the London’s Air Ambulance 30th anniversary campaign,” said Johnathan Jenkins, CEO, to the Royal Family’s website.
“Through his support, we aim to raise awareness of the life-saving work carried out by us and by air ambulances across the UK. Our crew face significant challenges when delivering our rapid response and cutting-edge medical treatments in London.
“Through funds raised in our 30th year, we plan to improve our facilities to ensure we can respond even faster, enhance our training and ensure our crews have the facilities they need for their mental health and wellbeing.”
The Palace, in announcing William’s patronage, said that his work would include acting to “champion those working on the frontline, and highlight the importance of the London Air Ambulance’s vital work.”
William previously worked as an air ambulance pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance before leaving his job to become a full-time royal.
After his visit, Prince William said, “The London Air Ambulance plays a critical role in saving lives. Its successes over the last 30 years have been the result of hard work, dedication and skill of those that work on the frontline and behind the scenes in often traumatic and stressful situations.
“I hope to shine a light on the incredible work the charity undertakes on a daily basis, as well as the importance of championing positive mental health and wellbeing among first responders.”
The visit coincided with Kate’s 37th birthday, and William received a birthday card to give to his wife that had been handmade by children affiliated with the Charity.
“Well done you for remembering, that’s very impressive,” William said upon receiving the card. He mentioned that he’d remembered as well, and joked that he couldn’t tell what Kate’s birthday celebrations would be because “That would be telling!”