Prince William just returned home to Norfolk this weekend after a five-day Brexit-ambassador tour through Poland and Germany. Before that trip, William went to the Wimbledon Men’s Final two Sundays ago. My point? No one really knows when William is on shift at East Anglian Air Ambulance and when he has “time off.” Whenever he’s not seen in public, we’re led to believe that he’s likely working a shift at EAAA. Many people have cast doubts on that, as it’s believed William barely pulls in 20-hour work weeks, with a massive amount of “time off,” like a full month off for Christmas, etc. Anyway, we won’t have to worry about any of that now. Tonight will be Work-Shy Will’s last night at the EAAA. To mark his time there (he’s been there for two full years), he’s written a letter to the Eastern Daily Press.
“As I arrive for work at East Anglian Air Ambulance this evening, my last shift with this incredible team, 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.
From the moment I joined, when that phone rang at the base for the first time, it was clear that I was a fellow professional, a pilot with a job to do – in such a team there can be no other option, but still I am grateful to my colleagues for accepting me so readily.
At EAAA, our helicopters are airborne within four minutes of getting a call and can reach patients anywhere in the region within 25 minutes. We land in residential gardens, school playing fields, beaches, roadsides, anywhere it is safe to do so. As a pilot, my job is to get the medical team to the patient as quickly and safely as possible, so they can give treatment as soon as possible after injury. We are sent to only one per cent of ambulance call outs, where having a trauma team and getting the hospital to the patient quickly, can mean the difference between life and death. I have watched our medical team perform surgery on a patient within minutes of jumping off the helicopter – their level of skill is astounding.
As a pilot at the scene, we will sometimes try and help by co-ordinating the area around the medical team, carrying their kit and doing whatever it takes to ensure they can focus on their work. It is a joint effort, and everyone plays his or her role with great professionalism and dedication. As a team, we travel to some very daunting incidents and we have been though some incredibly tough times together, witnessing some appalling tragedies.
One of the first call outs I made was to a young man who had taken his own life; it was an incredibly tough day and had a profound effect on all of us, not least in my determination now to draw attention to this issue. Another rescue that sticks in my mind was to a young man who was involved in a road accident. His uncle in the car with him sadly didn’t survive, and I was sure that from what we were faced with he wouldn’t either – but thanks to the skills of our medical team he is alive today. We were first on scene and in such circumstances we all had to pitch in to fight to save the young man’s life. It is days like this, when you know you have made a difference, that give you the determination to keep going.
I have seen at first-hand how our doctors, paramedics, police, fire and emergency services teams work together with such skill and professionalism in stressful situations. I have also been very fortunate to work with an organisation which recognises the stress its staff deals with and puts their welfare as such a high priority. You need to be physically and mentally fit to do this job properly and so we are encouraged to talk through the things we have seen, to share the trauma within the team.
I now know though that there are things that cannot be unseen and experiences that our first responders deal with on a daily basis that they will carry with them for life. I have the utmost respect for the job that our emergency services carry out, without fuss, on a daily basis.
Having had the great good fortune to experience serving the East Anglian Air Ambulance, I would like to finally say thank you to the community who fund, support and keep the air ambulance flying. As I hang up my flight suit, I am proud to have served with such an incredible team of people, who save lives across the region every day.”
A few things – William was always a co-pilot, not a pilot. He never piloted the helicopters all by himself. It was a make-work job that the Queen organized for him by buying the EAAA a new helicopter. William makes it seem like he was in the thick of it, day after day, when he really just showed up whenever he liked and always needed another pilot to guide him through co-piloting. Also, doesn’t it sound like what William really wants to do now is pretend to be a doctor? I wonder if Granny’s connections will allow him to pretend to work shifts at a hospital now. Anything to put off “royal work” for a few more years, amirite?