Prince William took to the skies of the capital in a chopper today as he visited the London Air Ambulance.
The Duke of Cambridge was a dot in the sky as he circled the city’s iconic skyline, flying above The Shard and The Gherkin.
Once landing on a helipad on the roof of the Royal London Hospital, William watched a training exercise simulating a stabbing incident.
His visit – on wife Kate’s 37th birthday – came as he was made patron of the organisation’s 30th anniversary campaign to recognise the work its first responders carry out delivering life-saving treatment.
It also comes weeks after he revealed his own work as a pilot in incidents involving kids left him “feeling very sad and very down” which nearly took him “over the edge”.
Through his work as an air ambulance pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, William has seen first-hand the impact they have upon the lives of patients with critical injuries.
He also opened up about his own experiences of feeling “very sad and very down” while working for the service.
The royal, 36, said having his own children meant he was deeply affected mentally while out of the job.
William spoke at the inaugural This Can Happen conference in London in November, which aims to address mental health issues in the workplace.
The father of three said he felt particularly lucky to have worked for the RAF and the Air Ambulance because of their good mental health working practices.
London’s Air Ambulance, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, delivers an advanced trauma team to critically injured people 365 days a year.
Prior to the establishment of the charity in 1989, many seriously injured patients lost their lives unnecessarily because of the delay in receiving prompt and appropriate medical care.
Since its inception, it has provided rapid response and cutting-edge medical care, bringing the hospital emergency department to the scene of an incident, and delivering life-saving treatment to the 10 million people.
During today’s visit, the Duke will also hear more from London’s Air Ambulance pilots, clinicians and paramedics about their experiences of working as first responders, and the challenges they face.
His Royal Highness will also learn more about the work that the LAA is undertaking in the area of mental health support for their staff.
The Duke will then join staff, patients and their families at a tea party marking London Air Ambulance’s 30th anniversary.
Jonathan Jenkins, CEO of London’s Air Ambulance Charity, said: “We are delighted that The Duke of Cambridge has accepted the role of Patron of the London’s Air Ambulance 30th Anniversary Campaign.
“Through his support, we aim to raise awareness of the life-saving work carried out by us and by air ambulances across the UK.
“Our crew face significant challenges when delivering our rapid response and cutting-edge medical treatments in London.
“Through funds raised in our 30th year, we plan to improve our facilities to ensure we can respond even faster, enhance our training and ensure our crews have the facilities they need for their mental health and wellbeing.”