SOPHIE, The Countess of Wessex has officially been announced as a royal patron of the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

Her role as patron will represent her involvement with the charity, which Sophie has supported for several years.

The royal patronage will raise awareness of the service Thames Valley Air Ambulance provide, as they continue to save lives and provide pre-hospital advanced critical care to the community.

Sir Tim Jenner, Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s Chairman, said: “We are truly honoured that her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex has accepted our invitation of Royal Patronage.

“It reflects her long-standing interest in our service and formally recognises how vital our emergency service is to our community.

“With The Countess’ support, we will continue to push the boundaries of advanced pre-hospital care to give our patients the best possible chance of survival and recovery.”

Sophie recently visited the charities new headquarters and has also benefited from the crews help in 2001.

The charity believe that Sophie understands that everyday anyone in the community could be in urgent need of the emergency service they provide.

Emma Gray, Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s Critical Care Paramedic, said: "It was an honour to meet Her Royal Highness during her last visit to us.

“It was clear that she has a passionate interest in our service, particularly in our innovative medical equipment.”

Last year the Thames Valley Air Ambulance team become a fully independent healthcare provider and now rely on community funding.

They also gained new paramedics and expanded their response to car, the team currently have four cars that carry the same equipment as their helicopter.

Ms Gray added: “The Countess was also keen to learn more about how our teams of Paramedics and Doctors work together to provide hospital-level care to our patients on scene."

For more information about the Thames Valley Air Ambulance service and how to support them visit: