A speech by Prince William at the opening of the new Help 4 Heroes rehabilitation centre at Headley Court

Published 04 June 2010

Here reigns courage, humour, compassion and, above all, hope for the future.

Thank you Colonel, Ladies and Gentlemen.

When my brother, Harry, and I first came to Headley Court two years ago, we were unsure about what to expect. As soldiers, we had heard of the great sacrifices of our fellow servicemen, the horrific injuries being suffered by them in the service of our Country. We expected to find a place of suffering with, perhaps, a pervading atmosphere of desolation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here reigns courage, humour, compassion and, above all, hope for the future.

How can this be? Well, part of it - it seems to me - is down to the extraordinary spirit and indomitable nature of the British soldier, sailor and airman. However, it is also about individual courage, the refusal to give up - even in those darkest moments that each and every one of you must have gone through. But if courage is the foundation stone of recovery, the unconditional love and support of friends and family, and the unstinting dedication and selfless care of the staff here, and at Selly Oak, are the tools by which this stone is levered into place. And that unconditional love is exemplified by that of Help 4 Heroes for this place, Headley Court. This great day – the opening of this state-of-the art complex behind me – has been brought about by this unique charity and the millions who support it.

Very occasionally – perhaps once or twice in a generation – something or someone pops up to change the entire landscape. Help 4 Heroes, under the magnificent and brilliantly quirky leadership of the mad cartoonist, Bryn, and his equally inspirational wife, Emma, is one such phenomenon. What it has achieved here at Headley Court is, in truth, but the tip of the iceberg. Help 4 Heroes has galvanised the entire British people. Always supportive of its men and women in uniform, this Country has been elevated by Help 4 Heroes to a state of realisation and proactive support for our military that has made me, personally, very, very proud to be British, and a member of our Armed Forces.

The challenge for the Charity now, having created this huge momentum, is where to go next. Needless to say, Bryn, John Cleese-like, is tearing on ahead of us as usual, blazing the trail, now intent upon ensuring a secure and fulfilling future for those to whom we owe so much, once they leave the sanctuary of Headley Court. His next vital goal is the rehabilitation of the Heroes… And I pity anyone inadvertently standing in this man’s way.

Bryn, on behalf of everyone – thank you for all you’ve done and all you plan to do. And to the staff and patients of Headley Court, your joint professionalism and dedication to duty are quite simply beyond words.