Royal visit to RAF base

PUBLISHED: 12:38 26 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:06 06 May 2010

Prince Edward meets Caitlin Gonzales and Samuel Durr

Prince Edward meets Caitlin Gonzales and Samuel Durr

PRINCE Edward, the Earl of Wessex made a flying visit to Comet country when he dropped in at RAF Henlow yesterday (Wednesday) morning. His wife Sophie had been due to accompany him but pulled out of the trip as she was unwell. Prince Edward arrived at the

PRINCE Edward, the Earl of Wessex made a flying visit to Comet country when he dropped in at RAF Henlow yesterday (Wednesday) morning.

His wife Sophie had been due to accompany him but pulled out of the trip as she was unwell.

Prince Edward arrived at the base by helicopter and was greeted by the station commander, Group Captain Nigel Beet.

After his arrival, he spent several minutes chatting to the wives and children of staff who had braved the damp weather to welcome him.

Among those he chatted to was Rebecca Bell, whose dad Wayne is based at nearby Chicksands.

Rebecca's mum Anita said: "He said is it half term and we said 'yes' and he said about the leaves blowing up [when the helicopter landed].

"He said what would we be doing otherwise and Rebecca said 'watching TV'.

"It's nice to see him. I think I'm as excited as the children are. We're going to see him off as well."

The earl's tour included a visit to the Whittle Childcare Centre, where he talked to staff and children and was presented with a bouquet of flowers by three-year-old Caitlin Gonzalas and Samuel Durr, two.

Other highlights included a visit to a display of station activities, where he stopped to talk to a number of airmen - including some who had just returned from Iraq - and to two air cadets.

Pilot officer Liz Fox, 20, from the air cadets volunteer gliding squadron, said: "He wanted to know what we do. I was just saying take cadets flying and that cadets do their first experience flying at 13."

The earl also visited the Centre for Aviation Medicine, where he saw a parachute suspension trial, and asked officers questions about the equipment they used.

He also visited the station's youth club and theatrical society and had lunch in the officers' mess before leaving again by helicopter in the early afternoon.

Speaking before Prince Edward arrived, Group Captain Beet said: "This is a fantastic day, we're very excited about the Earl of Wessex coming here today.

"We're going to show the Earl of Wessex a complete cross section of the activities which go on here.

"There has been a huge amount of excitement about the visit.


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