I would like to thank the team for working so hard to bring the Endeavour Fund to where it is todayThe Duke of Sussex
Good evening everyone and welcome to our very first Endeavour Fund Awards.
William, Catherine and I are determined to support the Armed Forces Community as much as we can. Through The Royal Foundation, we established the Endeavour Fund with the aim of helping wounded, injured and sick serving personnel and veterans to use sport and adventurous challenges as part of their recovery.
It has been a remarkable few years for the Endeavour Fund and since its inception in 2012, we have supported 39 different projects; directly assisting nearly 1500 people on their recovery journeys and in turn, inspiring many thousands more.
Some of these challenges have been huge, high profile and internationally renowned such as the Invictus Games and Walking with the Wounded's South Pole Allied Challenge. And others have been smaller and more personal, such as Team Endeavour Running Club and Beeline Britain. Everyone has their own version of an Everest challenge, and we try to support as many endeavours as possible. I would like to congratulate the 65 Degrees North team who summited Mount Vinson, the highest mountain in Antarctica, over the weekend. Even when we sit here the guys are still at it.
Some initiatives have sought to raise funds for other charities – generating nearly two and a half million pounds for other organisations supporting the wider armed forces community. While others have focused on using sport as a vehicle for qualifications, work experience or mentorship programmes.
Serious injury can lead to self-doubt, a lack of identity and fears for the future. We cannot underestimate the positive impact that sport can have on the physical, social and psychological effects of injury. Not just of the individual, but their families as well.
The men and women who have taken part in activities we've supported have felt significant improvements in their confidence and self-esteem. In fact, 90% said that participation in sport had had a positive impact on their recovery and rehabilitation.
Many have found job opportunities, directly or indirectly, as a result of taking part in these challenges; rediscovering the drive to seize chances where, for a time, they may have let them pass by.
With support from the Endeavour Fund, they have joined teams, established strong support networks and discovered new passions. Using the power of sport, this community has helped themselves to carve out a new life, a new direction and a new definition of self – proving to themselves and everyone else that, beyond injury, they can still achieve the extraordinary.
I would like to thank the team for working so hard to bring the Endeavour Fund to where it is today and the Advisory Board for their enduring commitment and guidance.
This evening is our opportunity to show you what these courageous men and women have been up to. Changing their lives and inspiring others while doing so. As Dave Henson once said, "Kicking the ass out of life." The men and women that serve our country are role models that any parent would be proud for their kids to follow. Their actions post-injury epitomise resilience and what it means to be unbreakable.
Lastly, I would like to thank all those that have been involved in the endeavours; those who have taken on the responsibility to organise and run these challenges; and the participants who have been brave enough to take the positive steps of getting involved. In spite of the challenges you have already faced in your lives, you have then chosen to do it all again, often facing daunting journeys or some of the harshest conditions on earth. You are all an inspiration to us all - THANK YOU…
I would now like to hand over to the host for this evening, someone who embodies everything I have just spoken about. A former Royal Marine who suffered serious injuries as a result of an explosion in Afghanistan. His journey from the first Invictus Games in 2014 has taken him to his dream of presenting Channel 4's coverage of the Paralympics in Rio last year.... Ladies and Gentlemen JJ Chalmers.
The Duke of Cambridge
I can only echo what has already been said about our friend Henry. As Patron of the Shackleton Solo expedition, I eagerly followed his preparation and progress and remember meeting with Henry, Joanna, Max and Alicia at Kensington Palace just days before he set off for Antarctica. It was plain to see how excited he was to embark on this voyage, following in the footsteps of Shackleton and, most importantly, selflessly raising money to support a cause he truly believed in. Tonight, as we look back on everything that has been achieved, we must remember that a lot of these successes have been supported by the funds raised through Henry’s herculean efforts.
The best way that we can thank Henry, the best way we can honour his memory is to create a legacy. The award of a prize in his name, is but a small part of this legacy, a gesture offered to show how much Henry meant to us. A much more significant and meaningful legacy can be fulfilled by you; the community for whom Henry sacrificed so much.
You can honour Henry’s memory by making the most of the opportunities available to you in the field of sport and adventurous challenge. You can work to support others, men and women still coming to terms with their injuries to get involved and thrive in sport, to immerse themselves in positive team environments and thus reap the benefits that we have heard so much about this evening.
Looking at the year ahead of us, the Endeavour Fund will be getting behind old favourites: Climb2Recovery, Team Endeavour Racing and of course the UK Team at the Invictus Games. In addition, new opportunities for new endeavours will also be swelling the ranks. So whether it’s cycling across the Pyrenees with RAID17, lacing up your trainers with Team Endeavour Running Club or any of the other amazing sporting challenges on offer; I urge you to contribute to Henry’s legacy by using sport as a catalyst for recovery.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce Max and Alicia Worsley who will be helping me to present the Henry Worsley Award for the first time, in honour of their father.