Published 15 April 2010

Just a few yards from this magnificent auction house, there will be people preparing for a night on the streets.

The Duke of Cambridge

I am so honoured to be here tonight as Patron of A Positive View 2010, supporting Crisis. Homelessness is something I feel very deeply about.

The problem is all around us; just a few yards from this magnificent auction house, there will be people preparing for a night on the streets.

People not so dissimilar from you and me tonight, just with their dreams and aspirations, for reasons often beyond their control, now eclipsed by fear and anxiety, robbing them of hope. It is organisations like Crisis that pick up the pieces of broken lives, giving homeless people the confidence to start over again by restoring hope. And this is what is so remarkable about this exhibition, A Positive View.

Much of what you see on the walls around you, is the polished work of world famous photographers. It may just be me, though, but I think there are some new stars emerging here too. But seriously, the work of the Crisis clients which you can see next door really is phenomenal, especially if you think that all this brilliance comes from a standing start. But, what role models to follow! I would just like to thank all the marvellous photographers, who have so generously donated their art to be auctioned here tonight – it really is a wonderful gesture.

You might also have noticed another piece of work here by two lesser known photographers – one of whom I suspect will go on to have a more eminent career in photography than the other! Well done Jeff – I know when I’m beaten. Jeff, it was such fun working with you under the master – thanks, Rankin…especially for the mop of black hair!

Whilst I’m sure that many of you are here, quite understandably, principally for the fantastic photography, I do hope that the exhibition has also shone a spotlight on homelessness, and particularly on the life-changing work of Crisis. I wish you all a very enjoyable evening, and I would encourage you to participate generously in the auction.