Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Royal Place

With yesterday's announcement of the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton our lovely island has come to the fore in the minds of the British people. I think that many more will now be aware of this island off the coast of North Wales. For the past year we have had Prince William in the skies above our homes as he has trained in the Griffin helicopters which are based at RAF Valley, just a few miles away.

Now that he has passed the course and been accepted as a co pilot on the Sea King helicopters of 22 Squadron there is a good chance that he will be in an aircraft over us. I say this because the Sea Kings of 22 Squadron are very old now and constantly being maintained to keep them airworthy. I know this from what the previous Station Chaplain at Valley told me. The squadron is kept very busy each winter as the foolhardy climb the mountains of Snowdonia with little or no safety equipment or warm clothing.

At the beginning of 2010 I was admitted to hospital at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor where all casualties from the mountains end up. At one point a Sea King helicopter was held at the hospital because the conditions were so bad that the rotors had iced up and a team of maintenance engineers had to come over from Valley to de-ice it so it was ready for service.

The work of 22 Squadron goes on and many crews work very hard to save lives. This is the work that Prince William has been trained to do. No doubt, at the end of his 3 years in Anglesey, he will move on to become a commanding pilot in a rescue squadron elsewhere. In the meantime he becomes an Anglesey resident with his beloved Kate. The people know where he is living and the name of the local pub he uses. However, we shall be keeping that information to ourselves during his stay among us.

I am certainly no royalist, favouring a republic, but he happens to have had a wonderful person for a mother. She paved the way for others to follow as she visited and supported the people at the bottom of life's heap. I hope and pray that Prince William will be a worthy son and show others that he is not too proud to sit with the lonely and the friendless.


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