Prince William has been reunited with a man whose life he saved almost eight years ago in an incident that had a profound effect on the heir to the throne. Jack Beeton has made a miraculous recovery after suffering serious injuries in a head-on crash with a lorry which killed his uncle in October 2015. His girlfriend, Olivia, wrote to the Prince to update him on his progress and asked if they could meet so the 25-year-old could thank him and the East Anglian Air Ambulance team that rescued him.
William, who at the time was working as an air ambulance pilot and gave Jack CPR, invited the couple, Jack’s family and the rescue team all to tea at Windsor Castle last week.
In a video published by Kensington Palace yesterday, Jack, who was 17 when the 20-tonne tipper truck crashed into the Citroen van his uncle Philip was driving on the A10 near Chittering in Cambridgeshire, said: “From what I’ve been told and all the photos, I’m a very lucky young man.”
Jemma Varela, a critical care paramedic, said: “Jack’s probably one of the most unwell patients I have ever seen make a full recovery. He’s really happy. He’s got a lovely family here.”
Speaking ahead of his final shift as an air ambulance pilot in July 2017, William, now 41, and still keeping up his flying hours to be able to return to duties if needed, cited Jack’s crash and a young man’s suicide as two key events which had affected him.
“I now know though that there are things that cannot be unseen and experiences that our first responders deal with on a daily basis that they will carry with them for life,” he said.
He described how the suicide had made him want to draw attention to the number of young men taking their own lives and said another rescue that stuck in his mind was Jack’s.
“We were first on scene and in such circumstances we all had to pitch in to fight to save the young man’s life,” he said.
“It is days like this, when you know you have made a difference, that give you the determination to keep going.”
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A statement from Kensington Palace, the Prince’s official residence, once said: “His Royal Highness has seen first-hand the impact these first responders have upon the lives of patients with critical injuries.”
In 2019, the father-of-three was patron of London Air Ambulance’s 30th anniversary campaign for the entire year.
In January 2019, he visited the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, where he met with clinicians, paramedics, pilots and crew members and piloted the helicopter the London Air Ambulance kept there on stand-by.
In November of the same year, he attended the charity’s gala and was hailed ‘one of their own’ by the staff in attendance.