LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince William, a former pilot, flew one of London Air Ambulance’s helicopters to mark his appointment as patron of the service’s 30th anniversary campaign.
William, also known as the Duke of Cambridge, previously worked as a pilot with the East Anglia Air Ambulance in eastern England, a role he gave up in 2017 to focus on his royal duties.
On Wednesday, London Air Ambulance sent one of its helicopters to pick up William from his Kensington Palace residence. From there, he took the captain’s seat and piloted the aircraft to the Royal London Hospital.
“Through his support, we aim to raise awareness of the life-saving work carried out by us and by air ambulances across the UK,” London’s Air Ambulance Charity Chief Executive Jonathan Jenkins said in a statement.
Neil Jeffers, the service’s chief pilot, said William was an “excellent” pilot.
At the hospital, William, second-in-line to the British throne, visited London Air Ambulance pilots, paramedics and other staff, who presented him with a toy helicopter.
“That will go down extremely well. Louis will be chewing that before long,” William joked, referring to his eight-month-old son.
London Air Ambulance relies on fundraising and public donations for funding and is made up of doctors, pilots, paramedics and others working as first responders across London.
In 2017, its advanced trauma doctors and paramedics treated nearly 1,800 patients, it said on its website, mostly from road accidents, stabbings, shootings, falls and incidents on the rail network.
Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Writing by Andy Bruce; Editing by Alison Williams and Catherine Evans