Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. It is a great pleasure for me to be here tonight. I’m sure you will all agree, that was inspirational tennis.
Thank you Goran and Tim.
Good to see all those vodka shots at dinner didn't hold you back, Tim!
And what a year we’ve had being inspired by sport inspired by young people and what they can achieve through sport, given the opportunity. We can all seek inspiration, too, from opportunities offered by the worlds of the Arts and Science - to which The Royal Albert Hall, this great building, is dedicated.
But, ladies and gentlemen, I can tell you that some of the most inspiring moments of my life have been with young people who have had no such opportunities; the young people of Centrepoint.
About this time a few years ago, for one night, I gave up the warmth and comfort of my bed, and tried sleeping on the streets of London.
Of course, this was just one night: I was cold but safe, and I knew I had a home waiting for me.
Many others have no such luck.
The cold streets are the only reality they know.
And yet so often their spirit shines through. What these unfortunate men, women and young people could achieve given the right opportunities is limitless. I really really believe that.
After that night, the Chief Executive of Centrepoint, Seyi Obakin, and I decided that Centrepoint should set itself a goal: to eradicate homelessness in the next ten years. We are now several years into that decade and the problem remains as acute as ever.
Centrepoint hasn’t given up on that ideal.
These deserving young people haven’t given up.
Ladies and gentlemen, nor must we.
Thank you so much for coming here tonight to support this incredible charity. With your help, Centrepoint’s dream remains alive. Enjoy the rest of this spectacular evening.