Captain Dave Kelly – a former Queen’s Guard – is EAAA’s Senior Pilot at the Cambridge base. Originally from Liverpool, he now lives in Ipswich with his wife Jill, and his children, Adam and Leah. When he first joined the army as a Guardsman in 1987, his job was to stand outside Buckingham Palace, which he did for seven years. ‘It was actually quite a hard life’, he recalls: ‘Shifts were twenty-four or forty-eight hours long, either standing to attention or cleaning kit. But I did get to take part in the Trooping of Colour for a number or years, which I really enjoyed.’
It was from the Queen’s Guard that Captain Kelly fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a pilot. After a year of intensive training, he was posted to Wattisham, in Suffolk, where he remained (with the exception of his tours of duty to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan), until he retired from the army 18 months ago. He joined EAAA in 2013 and actually ran the Virgin London Marathon for the Charity in April 2016.
Shifts were twenty-four or forty-eight hours long, either standing to attention or cleaning kit.
Moving from the army to civilian employment isn’t always an easy step to take; some people find it hard to adjust to the different working environment. But Captain Kelly explains, ‘In some ways serving as a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance team is a natural transition. Military training is obviously very helpful for the flying and the decision making process and also for being able to cope with the unexpected. Less obviously, perhaps, it seems that a military background also helps when it comes to coping with the banter in the crew room!’