Published 7 February 2019

You do not have to be defined by your injury or disability. It does not have to hold you back.

The Duke of Sussex

Thank you Shaun and congratulations again to all of tonight’s nominees and winners.

And thank you for once again reminding us what can be achieved by the human spirit, regardless of what barriers your bodies and the world has put in your way. 

Your stories and achievements have been nothing short of extraordinary. The resilience, determination and strength you have displayed in your careers, and over the past year with the Endeavour Fund, have been an inspiration to all of us here tonight and most importantly...your families and everyone who looks up to you. 

Having spoken to Joanna Worsley recently, I know how much this evening means to the whole Worsley family. So many of the people we heard from tonight epitomise the great example that Henry showed of overcoming adversity whilst helping others along the way.

However, tonight isn’t just about the winners. Or even just about the nominees. It’s about every single member of the armed forces community.

I am delighted that the Endeavour Fund has been there to help you on your way. But it was and is your spirit and your bravery that put you back on that journey to rediscover who you are. You did that.

Remember, all of you and your families have proven that you have the ability to summon more strength and resilience than anyone else we know. 

I have always wanted the Endeavour Fund to support those charities and programmes that can really find the hardest to reach. And with the work of everyone in this room, this is something that we’re achieving every single day.

Last year alone we supported 2,824 WIS through 22 adventurous challenges, which led to 103 qualifications through the Endeavours and 85 of which gained employment as a direct result.

Post wound or injury diagnosis, 88% of our participants experienced low mood and 77% a lack of confidence about the future. As a RESULT of their endeavour 94% reported positive effects on their wellbeing, 95% an increase in confidence and 90% reported positive effects on their support network. Just in case anyone in this room was in doubt that this really works.

To all the organisations we have worked with, thank you. Tonight’s awards are also a celebration of all your amazing work and without your support, none of this would be possible.

As the Endeavour Fund has grown, I have seen countless men and women find a new purpose and enthusiasm for life. But, also, I have seen the positive impact this has had on their families, friends, colleagues and communities around them.

And that spirit, professionalism, determination and resilience is powerful beyond measure.

I want you to be able to demonstrate it to everyone around you, because in my mind, once you’ve served you’re always serving and YOU are the UK’s greatest asset.

As we move forward, I want to harness this energy even further. From today, we will be using the Endeavour Fund to encourage and empower participants to use their experiences to have a wider impact on the world around them.

After all, 98% of our participants reported that helping others resulted in a positive effect in their own lives. Yes, that’s right, by adding value you feel valued.

So I’m afraid it’s no longer just about you. It’s also about those around you – your friends and family, those in your local community and the community at large. These endeavours are hopefully not only reminding you that you are valued members of society – but also the very best kind of role models we could ask for.

So from now on, when you’re getting involved with an endeavour, we’re going to ask you to think about how you will use your experience to impact those around you, be it in your own home or the world at large.

Take the guys on Deptherapy’s trip to Egypt for example, who took a break during their endeavour to help clean up the reef and ensure they left the ocean in a much better state for others to enjoy.

You are leading examples for the armed forces community, for public service, for giving back to society and for everybody else in the UK – you do not have to be defined by your injury or disability.

It does not have to hold you back. You may not realise or appreciate it yet, but do not underestimate the incredible impact you are having on those around you, by simply being yourself.

And to anyone else watching at home who is going through any of the issues we’ve heard about tonight, or who has a long road of recovery ahead – let this room be your true north.

We could sit here and pat each other on the back and say job well done. But this isn’t the end. In fact your work has only just started.

When you leave here tonight please have a think about how you can continue to make a positive impact to your life and to the lives of those around you.

Together you can continue to have palpable impact and truly make a difference. Exactly what you chose to do when you put that uniform on... so you see, once serving - always serving, only this time you’re not being shouted at.

Good luck, and thank you.