The Duke of Cambridge is to perform his final shift as a paid pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) tonight and has penned a letter of thanks to his colleagues.
In the letter, published in the Eastern Daily Press, Prince William talked about the “profound respect” he has for the men and women who serve in the emergency services.
“Over the past two years I have met people from across the region who were in the most desperate of circumstances,” he told the EDP.
“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.”
Pilot Wales, as nicknamed by his co-workers, talked highly of the “incredibly skilled doctors and paramedics” he has worked alongside. “I have watched our medical team perform surgery on a patient within minutes of jumping off the helicopter – their level of skill is astounding.”
He continued: “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.”
William, a former RAF search and rescue pilot, also recalled his own experiences on the job, including his very first call out. “One of the first call outs I made was to a young man who had taken his own life,” he said. “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.”
The Duke, who is leaving the role to focus on more royal duties, started working for the EAAA in July 2015 and donated his salary back to the charity. In the letter, he promised to continue supporting the charity and the emergency services staff after his duties are over.
“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,” he concluded.