The Countess of Wessex stepped out Thursday for her first public engagement after the Royal Family’s summer break.
Sophie visited her patronage, Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA), to help launch its 21st-anniversary celebrations. The visit to White Waltham Airfield, Maidenhead, the charity’s first operating base, comes just as National Air Ambulance Week is about to start, 7 to 13 September.
For its anniversary, the charity is launching its “Patients at Heart” campaign which is a chance to reflect on the true value of the charity’s work and the impact crew members have had on lives across the country. In its 21 years, the TVAA has been called out to more than 24,000 patients.
Sophie was given a tour of the TVAA helicopter and then was shown some of the advanced medical equipment on-board the aircraft. She also took the time to speak with former patients who shared how the ambulance gave life-changing experiences with the care they received.Embed from Getty Images
“I’ve been in here often so I could fly it myself,” joked Sophie as the pilot, David Webber pointed out the fine details of the cockpit.
“Now watch me fall out.”
Sophie became patron of the charity in January 2019. At the time, TVAA said in a statement:
“Having personally benefited form its expert crew in 2001, the Countess knows only too well how every day, anyone in the community could be in urgent need of the organisation’s vital emergency service.”
Sophie suffered an ectopic pregnancy in 2001 and needed to be flown to the hospital by helicopter crews. She would go on to give birth to Lady Louise Windsor in 2003 and James, Viscount Severn in 2007.
In April, Sophie had a video call with the TVAA’s crew to hear how paramedics and doctors were responding to the pandemic during the lockdown. Speaking from her home at Bagshot Park, Sophie thanked crews who had been redeployed to help their colleagues on the frontline.