The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, were at Cambridge Airport yesterday to open a new centre for East Anglian Air Ambulance. However, thoughts that they may be shown around one of the helicopters by their grandson, Prince William, were nearly dashed as he and his crew were called out on a mission, and returned only twenty minutes before his grandparents arrived.
The Royal party were met by the Lord Lieutenant for Cambridgeshire, Sir Hugh Duberly and civic dignitaries from the city and county of Cambridge. They were then given a guided tour of the Egerton-Smith Centre and briefed on the work of the Air Ambulance. The Air Ambulance provides both doctor and critical care paramedics to incidents across East Anglia and also the ability to swiftly and safely transfer casualties to the appropriate hospital for their needs.
The Duke of Cambridge was also able to give them a guided tour of the ambulance he flies, one of two dedicated helicopters operated by the charity. Following the Queen commenting he had only just made it back, the Prince admitted to his grandfather he had seen their helicopter as he was flying back in.
In addition to unveiling a plaque to celebrate her visit and opening of the centre, the Queen met Andrew Egerton-Smith who the centre is named after. Andrew Egerton-Smith MBE is the founder and President of the Charity which supports the East Anglian Air Ambulance. In addition to her grandson, the Queen and Duke also met other crew, support staff and volunteers of the charity. She was also presented with a bouquet of English flowers (sweet peas, cornflowers and scabious) by 2-year-old Pepe Casanova.
Pepe and his parents Ana and Mark come from Wymondham. When he was just 5 months he lost consciousness, they immediately dialled 999 and the helicopter and crew were scrambled. It transpired young Pepe was close to death following major organ failure due to undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes. Pepe and his family, together with other former patients were introduced to the Queen and Duke.