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xmas 2019 wings

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William praises air crews at palace event

The Duke of Cambridge has paid tribute to London Air Ambulance (LAA) crew members and those whose lives they have saved at a celebratory event at Kensington Palace.

William spoke at an intimate reception with around 30 people including helicopter paramedics, consultants and supporters of the charity, which was established in 1989.

In January this year he became patron of LAA's 30th anniversary campaign, Thirty Years Saving Lives, which has raised STG1 million for helipad facilities and mental health support for crew members in nine months.

As he greeted paramedics wearing their bright orange uniforms at the black-tie reception on Thursday, the Duke joked, "Is this a brand new kit?"

"Are you going to dinner like this? We feel safe when you're here," he said.

William then addressed some 100 guests at a formal dinner.

Wearing a bow tie and a poppy on the lapel of his black tuxedo, he told guests he was "delighted to become patron" for the charity and, as an ex-air ambulance pilot himself, he recognised London as a difficult city for their operations.

The Duke worked as a pilot for East Anglian Air Ambulance for two years until 2017.

"I know first-hand the trauma team working in London Air Ambulance are world-class - even if their banter isn't quite up to the same level.

"Their care can mean the difference between life and death, between recovery and life-long disability.

"They show remarkable resilience and strength in the face of tragedies that they come across every day."

The charity, which operates 365 days a year, serves 10 million people living in the capital city.

© PAA 2019