Cambridgeshire

Prince William begins East Anglian Air Ambulance job

Media captionPrince William: "Doing a job like this is worthwhile, valuable and there's an element of duty about it"

The Duke of Cambridge has admitted he is "feeling the nerves" as he begins his new job as an air ambulance pilot.

Prince William completed a civilian pilot course in September before taking dedicated 999-response training in order to take up the role with the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA).

The former RAF helicopter pilot will cover Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.

His first shift began at Cambridge Airport at 07:00 BST.

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Image caption Prince William will be flying the Airbus H145 based at Cambridge Airport
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Image caption Prince William said: "We're starting off on a wet Cambridge day, but I'm really looking forward to getting started."

The prince's first shift as a co-pilot alongside medical staff will be nine-and-a-half hours long.

'Wet day'

He said: "It's my first day and I'm feeling the nerves.

"We're starting off on a wet Cambridge day, but I'm really looking forward to getting started."

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Image caption Capt Dave Kelly and Prince William on his first day at work at Cambridge Airport

Prince William's shift pattern will be four days on, four days off, but it will take into account his official royal duties.

The prince said: "Obviously at some point there is going to be a lot more pressure and responsibility from the other side of my life, but at the moment I'm juggling the two of them and a young family and I'm enjoying the challenge.

"It's a follow-on from where I was with the military search and rescue with many of the same sorts of skills, so it was a natural progression."

'Close-knit crew'

Bond Air Services operates the air ambulance on behalf of the charity and the prince will be paid a salary which he is donating to charity.

Speaking when the appointment was announced, EAAA chief executive Patrick Peal said the organisation, which needs to to raise £7.5m a year to continue its work, would benefit from William's skills as a pilot and the charity's profile would be boosted.

"It is a very close-knit crew with the pilot operating closely with the doctor and paramedic so we need a strong team in every operation we go on," he said.

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Image caption Prince William carried out more than 150 missions as an RAF search and rescue Sea King helicopter pilot
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Image caption Cambridge Airport is about 60 miles from the Prince's home on the Sandringham estate in west Norfolk

Following the birth of Princess Charlotte in May, the prince and his family have spent much of their time at their home, Anmer Hall, on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

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