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A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at The National Memorial Arboretum Appeal Dinner

Published 10 November 2011

Thank you for your support which, in its way, I see as your own very personal act of remembrance.

The Prince of Wales

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, thank you General Cordingley.

The National Memorial Arboretum has become, in just a few years, the iconic focal point for the Nation’s remembrance of British heroes. It is a place of sanctuary for those who come to remember and a place of quiet pride in the selflessness and sacrifice of those who have gone before. It is also a place of education.

For Britons today, and for generations of Britons to come, the example of dedicating one’s life to helping and protecting others and to the service of our Country remains core to our values as a Nation. Nowhere is this lesson better taught than through contemplation of the names inscribed on the memorials in Staffordshire.

We will hear in a minute about a very special name, Gary Thompson, when Jacqui, his wife, describes how much this place means to her and their five daughters.

Those who make the journey to visit the National Memorial Arboretum – whether they are the families of those commemorated, old comrades or simply those who wish to acknowledge the debt owed and to learn – deserve to be looked after when they are there. That is why this appeal was launched.

We need to build education and interpretation centres, a restaurant, a café and a shop, as well as a covered area for large services of remembrance. To do this, the National Memorial Arboretum urgently needs £12 million.

So far, over half this sum has been received or pledged. As Patron of the Appeal, I am so grateful to everyone who has supported us, and I am particularly grateful to all of you gathered here tonight. It is because of you that this ambitious and inspiring plan will become a reality. Thank you for your support which, in its way, I see as your own very personal act of remembrance.

Thank you and have a wonderful evening.