Published 15 October 2015

What my mother recognised back then – and what I understand now – is that grief is the most painful experience that any child or parent can endure.

The Duke of Cambridge

Twenty one years ago last month, my mother attended the launch of the Child Bereavement Charity.   Fifteen years later, I was honoured to be invited to become Patron of Child Bereavement UK to continue my mother's commitment to a charity which is very dear to me.

What my mother recognised back then – and what I understand now – is that grief is the most painful experience that any child or parent can endure.   But my mother was determined to help those in need and she would have been immensely proud – as I am – of all that Child Bereavement UK has achieved these last 21 years.

Tonight we celebrate the enormous, positive difference this charity has made to bereaved families across the country.  We celebrate the love, support and skills provided by the charity's staff, volunteers and supporters.  When many people slink away at the sight of a friend's bereavement, CBUK's staff embrace strangers at the darkest moment in their life.

I have witnessed first-hand the difference CBUK has made – and continues to make – to the lives of bereaved families.  CBUK works with military families, with the wrecked families of suicide victims, with little children whose lives are torn apart by the inexplicable death of a parent.  And yet amid all this misery, CBUK – and I don't know how they do this – brings warmth, comfort, a guiding hand, a way through, even colour and joyfulness, and a renewed opportunity for love as a family reknits itself after tragedy.

Their offices in Buckinghamshire are full of colour and joy, with laughter a surprisingly common sound.  CBUK's humanity is simply unparalleled, and it is deeply moving.  As a father to two young children myself, I now appreciate it all the more.

Your continued support for this fantastic charity will help create a future for bereavement support in this nation.   We are truly blessed to have it, and we need it.   To all of you who have so generously supported this cause, I simply cannot thank you enough.

 I hope you have a wonderful evening.  And to Child Bereavement UK, I invite everyone to stand and to raise a glass in grateful celebration of 21 years…