Essex and Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) hosted a visit by Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex yesterday.

EHAAT is a local life-saving charity and works alongside the hospitals, emergency services and supporting organisations across the region. Today’s visit was an opportunity to bring everyone together at EHAAT’s new airbase at North Weald, enabling The Earl and Countess to say thank you to some of these organisations for their outstanding hard work during the pandemic.

On first arriving at North Weald, The Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and Vice Lord Lieutenant of Essex greeted The Earl and Countess of Wessex, and introduced them to Jane Gurney, CEO of EHAAT. Their Royal Highnesses then toured the new airbase, where they met members of EHAAT’s critical care team, charity staff and volunteers. The Earl and Countess also heard about EHAAT’s vision for a ‘Centre for Excellence’ at North Weald, which would enable the charity to push the boundaries in innovation, research and education for the advancement of pre-hospital care.

Their Royal Highnesses spent time with representatives from the local hospitals in the region and then spoke to air lifted patients and their families to hear first-hand about their experiences.

The highlight of the Royal visit took place at the front of the building where people had gathered representing the emergency services and voluntary support organisations, together with the members of the armed forces and many EHAAT charity staff and volunteers. The Earl and Countess took the opportunity to stop and speak to individuals and thank them for the work they do.

Jane Gurney was thrilled that The Earl and Countess of Wessex had visited. She said:

“This is a real milestone in our charity’s history, as it is the first time that Essex and Herts Air Ambulance has hosted a Royal visit. It was a fantastic opportunity to bring together all of the organisations who have worked so hard during these challenging times of the pandemic. I am truly honoured that we have been able to showcase our new airbase at North Weald and share our vision for a Centre for Excellence that will continue to develop pre-hospital care into the future.”

Chair of Trustees at EHAAT, Jonathan Trower, added:

“We are absolutely delighted to have welcomed Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex to our new airbase in North Weald, and we are very grateful for their interest and support for our charity. We were able to show them our outstanding new facilities for our team and to discuss our exciting plans for the further development of our emergency medical services across Essex and Hertfordshire.”