Prince William has completed his final shift as a HEMS pilot, having worked with East Anglia Air Ambulance (EAAA) for two years. He hung up his flight suit for the last time on 27 July at Cambridge Airport, UK.
On his final day at work, the Prince arrived for a night shift, and attended the hand over briefings from the day team as usual, before joining his team-mates at the helicopter he has flown for the past two years for a group photograph, the Royal Household press service reported.
Prince William, also known as the Duke of Cambridge, joined EAAA as an air ambulance pilot in March 2015. After completing an initial period of job-specific training involving simulator, aircraft and in-flight skills training, he began piloting his first operational missions in July 2015. Throughout his service, the Duke has been based out of Cambridge Airport, as part of a team including specialist doctors, critical care paramedics and pilots providing emergency medical services across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, noted the Royal Household.
Over the last two years, the Duke has enjoyed the opportunity to connect directly with the community of East Anglia and has valued being part of a team that provides such a critical and often life-saving public service, the Royal Household said.
In article for the Eastern Daily Press to mark his last day at work, the Duke commented: “I wanted to say thank you to my colleagues, team mates and the people of East Anglia who I have been so proud to serve. Over the past two years I have met people from across the region who were in the most desperate of circumstances. As part of the team, I have been invited into people's homes to share moments of extreme emotion, from relief that we have given someone a fighting chance, to profound grief. I have watched as incredibly skilled doctors and paramedics have saved people's lives. These experiences have instilled in me a profound respect for the men and women who serve in our emergency services, which I hope to continue to champion even as I leave the profession. I am hugely grateful for having had this experience.”
Patrick Peal, EAAA chief executive, said: “William has been an integral part of the EAAA team for the past two years. He is not only a fantastic pilot, but a much loved and valued member of the crew; he will be truly missed by everyone at EAAA. As one would expect, there has been a lot of excitement surrounding William and his work with the charity. To us, he has simply been another hard-working member of the team; one of 11 highly respected pilots who help us to save hundreds of lives each year. Our crews are tasked to some truly difficult and complex situations and can sometimes be subjected to harrowing experiences; it is a testament to them all how they manage these experiences on a daily basis.” He added: “We can’t thank William enough for his hard work and commitment to the charity during this time. He has been a true professional, delivering our doctors and critical care paramedics to patients under testing conditions. His dedication to the job, and wonderful character will be greatly missed, and I know I speak for all of our staff when I say we wish him the very best of luck for the future.”
Prince William previously served as a search and rescue helicopter pilot with the UK Royal Air Force.