It is an enormous pleasure to be here at Tedworth House. This place – and what Help for Heroes and its partners have done here – makes Harry and me very, very proud.
When Harry and I, like so many other young men and women, first donned our Help for Heroes wristbands only six years ago, not even we, as servicemen, could have guessed the scale of the challenges ahead. In 2007, the Nation was beginning to wake up to the reality of the debt that it owed its wounded and sick servicemen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The British public’s unprecedented response to the likes of Help for Heroes, the Royal British Legion and countless other service charities was a heartfelt response to that sense of debt felt by countless tens of thousands of people – in fact, the whole Nation – who wanted to show support and gratitude.
Through the partnership between many service charities and the Ministry of Defence, it was the Nation who created this state-of-the-art Recovery Centre at Tedworth House and it falls to the Nation – to all of us – to continue to sustain it.
The official opening today of this Recovery Centre does not mark the end of a journey – it marks the beginning. The wounded and sick Servicemen, and their families, who so merit the excellent support that Tedworth House offers begin lifelong journeys when they arrive here – journeys into terrain that can be difficult and challenging but ultimately will be fruitful, thanks to the love and expertise of those who work here and who support this place. Those journeys of recovery will be cut short – unforgivably – if we as a Nation unfix our attention.
We must not let the wounded men and women of our Armed Forces down. This official opening is therefore, I hope, as much a renewed pledge by all of us to go on supporting those who have sacrificed so much as it is a celebration of an amazing achievement.
This Recovery Centre, and the others around the country, have come about thanks to the tireless efforts of a very diverse group of people: fundraisers, volunteers, many charities, builders and craftsmen, doctors, civil servants, even journalists. You name it, almost every type of profession has contributed in some way. Thank you to all of you. It has also been so gratifying to see the way in which the military and service charities have worked together in genuine partnership and towards a shared goal.
Finally, those men in lycra over to my side. The Hero Ride finishes in London on 2nd June, and it looks set to be a very fun and visual way of demonstrating of how important adaptive sport is in recovery. Very good luck to all of you.
And now, with great pride, it falls to me and Harry to declare Tedworth House Recovery Centre officially open.
-A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at Tedworth House
Picture source: Getty Images