Prince William further illustrated his love of children on a recent rescue mission in his air ambulance, taking the time to lift the spirits of a young patient. The Duke of Cambridge turned a blue surgical glove into a balloon animal and passed it to little Luke Sawyer from the cockpit window.
The three-year-old from Little Dunmow in Essex had suffered an anaphylactic shock triggered by eating a snack containing peanuts, and was picked up by Prince William and his colleagues for treatment.
After the youngster was treated for the potentially fatal reaction, which was triggered by an allergy to nuts, he was handed the fun souvenir by the Prince – a balloon creature complete with a smiley face and big eyes drawn on a black marker.
The gesture meant a lot to both Luke and his mum Donna, 49, who has said that her son refuses to let go of the balloon glove.
"We thought it was a really touching thing for Prince William to do as it really took his mind off everything that was going on," she said. "He wouldn't let go of the balloon glove, even taking it to bed with him."
Prince William works 80 hours per month – or 20 hours per week – as a pilot. He takes part in a four days on, four days off rotation, which averages 8.5 hours per shift. These shifts allow him to fulfil his royal and parental duties, however he has recently come under scrutiny for what some have regarded as his reluctance to take on more official duties.
A palace source responded to the scrutiny by telling HELLO!: "Over the course of the year, the monthly average would be 80 hours on shift. His royal and charitable duties are on top of that.
"There are engagements and tours and meeting and all sorts, and his team works with the Air Ambulance Service to fit it into his diary. This is no different to what he's been doing since he started flying. It's ultimately a very skilled and rewarding job - he's flying doctors around to help save people's lives."