Queen’s words with paramedic Ben make headline news
Friday, 09 February 2024
Photo by Finnbarr Webster
Queen Camilla was making her first public appearance since Buckingham Palace’s announcement of King Charles’ cancer diagnosis on Monday.
Ahead of the event she met with key workers from the three charities involved, Wiltshire Air Ambulance, The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust and Youth Action Wiltshire.
Ben, the charity’s clinical lead, spoke for a nation when he said: “I do hope His Majesty is doing well Ma'am, we were all really sad to hear the news."
The Queen responded: “He’s doing extremely well under the circumstances. He’s very touched by all the letters and messages the public have been sending from everywhere. That’s very cheering.”
Locally, the Salisbury Journal dispatched a reporter to cover the event in its heartland, while BBC Radio Wiltshire had roving reporter Kelly Morgan capturing the occasion throughout the night, following up by welcoming Wiltshire Air Ambulance deputy chief executive Barbara Gray on to Ben Prater’s breakfast show the following morning.
News outlets as far afield as New Zealand, Japan and the United States of America have also carried the news.
Reflecting on the occasion, critical care paramedic Ben said: “I just wanted to pass on well wishes from everyone. I also said to Her Majesty that we regularly fly over her residence in Lacock and we wave out to her. She said she always waves to us and that’s lovely.
“The Queen has been our patron since 2009, which is something we’re all very proud of. She’s very supportive of the charity.”
The evening saw award-winning pianist Rupert Egerton-Smith perform alongside The Grenadier Guards and The Band and Bugles of the Rifles.
Over 1,200 people were in attendance inside Salisbury Cathedral and the event will raise over £100,000, to split between the three charities, with a donation also being made to the two military charities linked to the bands.
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"I knew from the very beginning the first thing I was going to include in my Will was Wiltshire Air Ambulance."
Pete Burch - former patient