Tomorrow evening (7th May) City Salute, a spectacular open-air sunset pageant, free to the public, will be held in front of St Paul’s, it will start at 8pm and be hosted by Jeremy Clarkson. Royal Patrons of the City Salute Appeal, Prince William and Prince Harry, will join in this public celebration of the Armed Forces and their families.
In the event programme Prince William and Prince Harry have paid this signed tribute: "City Salute is a chance for us all to follow the City’s lead in saying thank you to the Armed Forces, and join in saluting the remarkable qualities of our servicemen and women and their families. It’s a chance, too, for us to demonstrate our support for them by helping with the care for those who have suffered grievously in the service of their country.
"We are both currently enjoying the privilege of seeing at first-hand the simply remarkable job which the men and women of our Armed Forces do. Their professionalism is coupled with quite extraordinary personal qualities of courage, resilience, modesty, and humour – qualities which they display in good times and in bad, and which are humbling and inspiring beyond measure.
"Our servicemen and women need to know that we as a people can display those same qualities – that we will support them in good times and in bad; and they need to know just how grateful we are for the job which they do on our behalf so uncomplainingly and so well.
"Their families, too, deserve our support and our gratitude. In what are for most of us years of peace and plenty they suffer agonies of separation and apprehension, and give love and crucial support when needed. We salute them as well, and thank them."
The City Salute Appeal and City Salute event is an initiative by the City of London to support wounded service personnel. Projects funded by the Appeal will be a swimming pool and sports complex for physiotherapy and family accommodation for relatives of servicemen and women undergoing treatment at Headley Court and Selly Oak Hospital.
City Salute will be a celebration and spectacle that combines traditional elements and state-of-the-art son et lumière projections, with the edifice of St Paul’s providing the dramatic backdrop. It will be the City of London demonstrating its appreciation and admiration for the remarkable character and qualities of our Armed Forces. The event programme includes:
•Band of HM Royal Marines marching through Temple Bar
•Ceremonial troops and armoured vehicles of The Household Cavalry
•RAF fly past
•Son et lumière – St Paul’s Cathedral
•Giant screens showing specially commissioned short films about the lives of the forces and their families
The event is being produced by LiveNation, who also worked on last year’s Concert for Diana and Live Earth.
Joss Stone will perform at a reception, after the event, held for major City donors to the appeal. She said: "I’m doing it because I support the cause and also because they (William and Harry) are good friends."
Supporters of the Appeal come from right across the City: they include for instance alternative investment managers Man Group plc; the Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund; investment managers Sarasin and Partners LLP; insurers Hiscox PLC; partners from law firm Allen & Overy LLP; and the Brokers at Bryan, Garnier & Co, as well as a number of private individuals. Individuals can donate from today to the City Salute Appeal at www.citysalute.org Help for Heroes and SSAFA (the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) are the two charities that will benefit from the City Salute Appeal.
The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman David Lewis, commented: “The City of London is immensely proud of its historic and very close association with the Armed Forces, which dates back to when the City was founded. I am delighted that through City Salute we have an opportunity to celebrate these links, to salute the men and women of the Armed Forces, and to show our gratitude for the courage and forbearance displayed by them and by their families. "
SSAFA Chief Executive, Major General Andrew Cumming CBE, said: "City Salute is a poignant and fitting occasion that will show the world that London understands and appreciates the outstanding contribution made by our Armed Forces. The funds raised will enable SSAFA to continue to provide practical support to servicemen and women and their families who, returning from conflict, are facing a particularly challenging time in their lives."
Bryn Parry, Help for Heroes said: "This is an important moment to celebrate the mettle of our young soldiers, sailors and airmen. Unquestioningly and with the highest professionalism, they continually place themselves in unrelenting danger, more often than not, with a good sense of humour. The City Salute Appeal is London's chance to say thank you and to raise much needed funds to help those have been injured rebuild their lives."
Guy Monson, Managing Partner of Sarasin & Partners, and City Salute Appeal Committee, said: "The UK's financial centre, the City, owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to our service personnel. I would encourage everyone in the City to show their appreciation and support for these young men, women and their families.”