Nine nurses, past and present, congregated at Whitechapel tube station and enjoyed a short walk to the City Spice restaurant in Brick Lane for a delicious curry lunch prior to our visit to the Royal London Hospital and the London Air Ambulance which is based there.
Over lunch we discovered so many coincidences – some people had worked together, others had friends in common and two people, previously unknown to each other, had actually exchanged emails on their respective trains on the way into London only to discover their correspondent sitting opposite them!
At ‘The London’ we ascended the 17 floors to the Helipad on the roof. A fireman on the team was just about to escort us to view it close-up when they got a call so we had the thrill of watching the crew board, carry out all the checks, start up the rotors and take off – within 4 minutes of receipt of the initial 999 call.
We didn’t have to wait long for it to return and once the giant hair-dryer had stopped we were allowed to have a look inside and quiz the crew on many aspects of their work. (They always have 5 field crew – 2 pilots, 2 doctors and a paramedic. They scramble on average 5 times every day at an approximate cost of £10,000 – mostly raised from charitable donations).
The panoramic views of London were fantastic with the O2, the Shard, and the Royal Observatory at Greenwich easily visible.
This was my first outing with The Guild but it will not be my last. Not only was it a very interesting visit but it was great to make new acquaintances and enjoy the camaraderie one always finds when a group of nurses get together!