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HRH The Princess Royal visited HM Coastguard’s search and rescue helicopter base at Lee-on-Solent on Thursday to mark 100 years of flying at the site. 

Her Royal Highness was welcomed to the helicopter base by Vice Lord-Lieutenant Lindsay Fox and taken on a tour of the base by Richard Parkes, Director of Maritime Operations for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.

During her 40 minute visit, the Princess Royal was introduced to the Chief Pilot and duty aircrew on shift before touring the new AW189 helicopters to learn about the helicopters’ capabilities and ground-breaking technology, which are designed to undertake long-range, high endurance search and rescue missions in demanding operational and environmental conditions.

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Her Royal Highness then had the opportunity to watch a cliff rescue class at the Daedalus multi-purpose training centre – where the Coastguard Rescue Teams are technically trained for mud, water, cliff, and rope rescues.

Speaking after the event, Richard Parkes, Director of Maritime Operations said:

“We were delighted to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to the Lee-on-Solent Coastguard helicopter base and HM Coastguard’s Daedalus Training Centre. This was a brilliant opportunity for our helicopter crews and Coastguard Rescue Teams to showcase their dedication and skill, affirming that Her Majesty’s Coastguard, recognised as one of the best in the world, continues to deliver a remarkable search and rescue service”.

The Lee-on-Solent based helicopters cover the entire Isle of Wight coast. Roughly speaking, their patch extends from Weymouth in the West to Brighton in the East and far out into the English Channel.

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