Published 10 November 2010

This is where the stars of the future will first discover their talents.

The Duke of Cambridge

Somewhere for children to play, somewhere for everyone to gather should be a right, not a luxury.

Yet thousands of neighbourhoods up and down the country have lost recreational space over the past decades, with many more fields under threat today.

Being able to spend time outdoors in the fresh air, taking exercise or just going for a walk, is essential for a person's wellbeing.

For children and teenagers, fields provide an outlet for their energy and passion, a springboard for developing potential skills.

If the UK is to boast tomorrow's Olympic champions or World Cupwinning footballers, these places must be protected.

This is where the stars of the future will first discover their talents.

But such places are not just life- changing and life-enhancing for children.

For all of us, whatever age, somewhere away from stressful and overcrowded lives, closely accessible, is a sanctuary.

I am therefore incredibly proud to be Patron of The Queen Elizabeth II Fields, a project that will safeguard hundreds of fields by the year 2012, when we will celebrate two momentous occasions: The Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games.

Why "The Queen Elizabeth II Fields"?

Simple. It's a tribute to The Queen for her six decades of duty, dedication and commitment to this country.

I can't think of a more fitting tribute: Millions of people up and down the country enjoying the benefits of the outdoors for generations to come, and remembering The Queen for it.

And this is something for you.

From next year, you will be able to vote for your favourite outdoor space to become a Queen Elizabeth II Field.

When the time comes, please join me in supporting this incredibly important challenge.