Published 21 June 2018

The Duke of Cambridge is Patron of the appeal to build the new Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC), which will provide world-class rehabilitation facilities for members of the Armed Forces who have suffered major trauma or injury during their service.

The facility will be a 21st Century successor to the current centre at Headley Court, which has long been supported by The Royal Family.

During the handover Ceremony, The Duke gave a speech:

I have been the Patron of the DNRC for 4years and I have enjoyed every single moment of it.  I have seen the growth of an idea transfer into what we see today – and it is a rare and immensely satisfying thing to have witnessed.

His Royal Highness then read the winning entry of the DNRC's 'A Poem to Remember' national poetry competition, which marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and the opening of the new facility.

Over 5,000 poems were submitted to the competition, which was won by Debbie Lawson, a nurse in the Accident and Emergency department at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. For the last few years she has also been helping former servicemen and woman suffering from PTSD by volunteering as a counsellor.

Her poem 'One for the Team' is a true story: 

I keep seeing you mat, intact and laughing,holding up your baby to make us smile.

I keep hearing you mate, joking, urging, 'come on lads keep together, don't step on the cracks it brings bad luck'.

'Keep it tight boys, we'll be home by the footy season'.

We carried you home, silent and broken, you really took one for the team that day.

Your dad stood with pride head high, don't cry, don't cry.

Lucy took the flag, a token for the broke. The baby will have it one day.

They'll go to the wall to see your name, a gam, 'let's find daddy's name'

but I keep seeing you mat, my shrink says you're not there, that makes us laugh doesn't it?

What do they know.

The Duke also attended a reception, meeting those who were involved in the creation of the new facility & unveiled a statue of Major General Sir Robert Jones, who is acknowledged as the founder of modern orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation.

The new national facility draws on the expertise in Defence medicine developed at Headley Court over its 70 years of operation and will enable that to flourish and grow in a bespoke and state of the art new clinical facility.