The Duke of Cambridge has written an open letter to the air ambulance community to thank them for their "tireless dedication to saving lives," particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Prince William, who worked as a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance between 2015 and 2017, wrote to the UK's 21 air ambulance charities to mark Air Ambulance Week 2020.
Speaking about his own experiences, the Duke wrote: "Having seen first-hand the incredible work of air ambulance teams both on the front line and behind the scenes, I hold a profound respect for all that you do.
“Whether you are part of the critical care team bringing vital medical support to patients when every second counts; an engineer who ensures that crews can be safely deployed at a moment’s notice; or a volunteer working to keep the service running, the country owes you an enormous debt of gratitude."
William's letter to the air ambulance community
William addressed the challenges of the pandemic, saying: "The outbreak of Covid-19 has presented an immeasurably difficult challenge to all emergency responders.
"You have had to adapt to new ways of working throughout the pandemic - while continuing to provide a crucial lifeline to those who need it most.
"However, I know from experience that a wonderful spirit runs through the air ambulance community and I encourage everyone to continue to take time to support one another through these difficult times."
William worked as a pilot for East Anglian Air Ambulance between 2015 and 2017
The Duke recognised that it had also been a difficult period for an emergency service funded almost entirely by public donations, writing: "This will have been an unsettling period for you all as fundraising activities have been curtailed.
"I am enormously grateful to all those who support the work of air ambulance services across the country – even through the most challenging of times.
"This Air Ambulance Week, more than ever, I am delighted to see a spotlight shone on the work of this community and all those who support you. Your tireless dedication to saving lives and helping those in times of greatest need is a source of huge pride for our country."
MORE: Prince William honours 999 workers in touching video message for thanksgiving service
The Countess of Wessex visited Thames Valley Air Ambulance last week
William became patron of London's Air Ambulance Charity in March, following his patronage of the charity's year-long 30th anniversary campaign in 2019. The Duke also gave permission for air ambulances to use a private lawn at Kensington Palace for refuelling during lockdown.
The Countess of Wessex also stepped out last week to visit her patronage Thames Valley Air Ambulance, who saved her life in 2001, when she suffered a potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancy.
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