04/03/2022 | Press releases

ESNEFT nursing colleagues guests at Royal visit

Their royal highnesses Earl and Countess of Wessex at Essex & Herts Air Ambulance’s (EHAAT) airbase at North Weald

Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex at Essex & Herts Air Ambulance’s (EHAAT) airbase at North Weald


Nursing colleagues from East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) were guests at a visit by Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex to Essex & Herts Air Ambulance’s (EHAAT) airbase at North Weald.

EHAAT is a local life-saving charity and works alongside the hospitals, emergency services and supporting organisations across the region. The visit, on Tuesday 1 March, was an opportunity to bring everyone together at EHAAT’s new airbase at North Weald, enabling The Earl and Countess to say thank you to some of these organisations for their outstanding hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On first arriving at North Weald, The Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and Vice Lord Lieutenant of Essex greeted The Earl and Countess, and introduced them to Jane Gurney, CEO of EHAAT. Their Royal Highnesses then toured the new airbase, where they spent time with representatives from the local hospitals in the region and then spoke to air lifted patients and their families to hear first-hand about their experiences.

The highlight of the Royal visit took place at the front of the building where people had gathered representing the emergency services and voluntary support organisations, together with the members of the armed forces and many EHAAT charity staff and volunteers. The Earl and Countess took the opportunity to stop and speak to individuals and thank them for the work they do.

ESNEFT Chief Nurse Giles Thorpe, Colchester Hospital colleagues, emergency department matron Andrew Seale and senior matron for medicine, urgent care and the emergency department Natasha Machell, and critical care unit matron for Colchester and Ipswich hospitals Elsje Rossouw represented ESNEFT at the event.


Pictured are Giles Thorpe, top left, Natasha Machell, top right, Elsje Rossouw, bottom left, and Andrew Seale, bottom right


Giles said: “It was wonderful to come together with our partners and peers from other NHS organisations for this visit and reflect on the challenges we’ve all faced during the pandemic and to see the new EHAAT airbase for the first time too.

“Our teams have all worked so hard as part of our COVID-19 response, both in our hospitals and in the community, so it was great for them to be recognised and thanked for the part they’ve played.

“Each and every one all have their own stories and reflections to share. I was very proud to introduce Andrew, Elsje and Natasha to Their Royal Highnesses, who took a keen and genuine interest in their experiences.

“We have a long-established partnership with EHAAT. The life-saving work the charity does to reach and care for people when they need urgent help most, so we can then treat them as quickly as possible in our hospitals, is vital.”

You can watch a short video clip of the visit on the ESNEFT website.


Giles Thorpe, Andrew Seale and others in discussion

The Earl of Wessex in conversation with Colchester’s emergency department matron Andrew Seale and Chief Nurse Giles Thorpe

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