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Camilla tells of granddaughter’s helicopter rescue after 40ft plunge

She was speaking as she unveiled a plaque at the Cornwall Air Ambulance’s base in Trevithick Downs, near Newquay.

The Duchess of Cornwall has revealed how her granddaughter was dramatically airlifted to safety after falling 40ft, during a visit to mark the 30th anniversary of the Cornwall Air Ambulance.

Camilla, who has been patron of the charity since 2011, was speaking as she unveiled a plaque at the charity’s base in Trevithick Downs, near Newquay, Cornwall, on the final day of her and the Prince of Wales’ annual summer tour of Devon and Cornwall.

She said: “I’d like to say a very, very happy 30th birthday to the Cornish air ambulance, (it’s) quite a bit younger than me. We’ve had quite a lot of birthdays this week.

“It’s a lovely way of ending the week to be able to say thank you to all of you and thank you to everybody involved with the air ambulance because I know what wonderful work you do.

“I’ve talked to a lot of the survivors over the years and you do literally save people’s lives.

“I know from experience, I had a granddaughter who was rescued in Yorkshire by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance so I have got a sort of personal involvement and I know exactly how brilliant you are when it comes to emergencies.”

Camilla met with support staff, paramedics, volunteers and patients during her visit and was joined by Charles when he made an unplanned entrance to shake hands with the paramedics.

Cornwall became the first area in the UK to launch an air ambulance service in April 1987 and the aircrew has carried out more than 26,000 lifesaving missions.

One woman who got the chance to tell her story to the Duchess was Anne Leaney, who was 29 when she was the first patient to be rescued by one of the crews after falling and breaking her back on the beach at Porthcurno.

She said of her meeting with Camilla: “She said ‘you were very, very lucky to be rescued by them’.”

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The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall arrive at Newquay Fire Station (Matt Cardy/PA)

Earlier the royal couple braved torrential downpours to attend a church service in celebration of Camilla’s 70th birthday.

Charles and his wife were able to warm up after the service of thanksgiving at St Protus and St Hyacinth’s Church in Blisland, Cornwall, when they visited the local combined Post Office, shop and tea room to meet villagers.

On entering The Glebe Post Office and Store, on the third day of their annual summer tour of Devon and Cornwall, the Prince commented: “I’m sorry we’re a bit damp.”

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The Duchess of Cornwall meets residents from Tregunnel Hill, Cornwall (Matt Cardy/PA)

He did not have to be asked twice when offered a restorative cuppa and said: “Well, go on, we’ll have a cup of tea.”

The royal couple seemed relaxed as they mingled with people from the small moorland community, petting dogs and inquiring about what life is like there.

The Prince and Duchess also chatted to store manager Sonia Mellow, who said: “It was a great pleasure to have them visit our village and we feel honoured that they took the time to come to Blisland because we are a small little village and sometimes people don’t know where we are.”

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