A speech by Prince Harry in aid of The Halo Trust, Washington

Published

Ladies and Gentlemen.

First of all, I would like to thank Sir Peter and Lady Westmacott for their great generosity in hosting us this evening at this wonderful Lutyens Residence. It is a great privilege for me to address you tonight.

The HALO Trust - 25 years old this year - and other humanitarian mine action organisations make an exceptional contribution to the stabilization of post-conflict regions. For people who live in countries blighted by land mines and the other residue of war, there can be no return to normality.

When the daily walk to the water point, the tilling of fields, the herding of livestock, or the playing of children can result - at any moment - in death or life-changing injury, how can life ever be normal? Refugees, who have sought shelter from war, cannot return home. Long after the guns have fallen silent, this menace remains, unseen, undetected. The chance for a life of peace surely the natural and rightful expectation of every human being is no more than a dream so long as these dreadful weapons remain where they were laid or discarded.

At any one time, HALO has seven thousand de-miners in the field, striving to protect people, and banish the fear that pervades the lives of millions around the world. In Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Kosovo, in Somalia, Georgia and Armenia, the threat of landmines could be eradicated in the next five years, if funding can be sustained. If it were stepped up, in the next ten years, countries like Cambodia, Angola, Colombia, Afghanistan, Burma and even Zimbabwe might have their landmine crises eliminated for good.

So, this is not all a tale of woe. Great strides are being made by HALO and others. It comes at a price though - and not just for the poor, benighted people who have to live in mined areas. Over the past 25 years, 23 members of HALO have given their lives in the service of others. Almost one for every year of the charity’s existence. I am sure that you will agree their sacrifice ranks alongside the very highest callings of selfless duty.

Tonight I would also like to pay tribute to the United States of America. The US Government is by far the largest donor to humanitarian mine action worldwide. This started in earnest in the 1990’s and was reinforced by President Clinton’s ten year initiative. American governmental support has been enormously generous and very well sustained.

The charitable instinct of the people of this great country also ensures that HALO and others are supported by private donation on a grand scale. Some of HALO’s most significant private donors are here tonight. On behalf of the HALO Trust, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do for this extraordinary charity, and this vital cause. I have seen first hand what a difference your generosity has on the lives of so many. I cannot let this moment pass without mentioning Guy Willoughby, HALO’s inspirational leader. Colin Mitchell founded the charity a quarter of a century ago with Guy. In the early days, it was Guy and a couple of others on their hands and knees doing the clearing, with his amazing wife, Fiona, clutching the medical pack in the Land Rover.

Guy has brought HALO from being this small but effective operation, which changed hundreds of lives for the better, to where it is now: one of Britain’s largest overseas charities, in terms of the number of its operators. Mitchell and Willoughby are Britons of that fabled cast: the adventurer driven to help others. Guy, tonight, we salute you and Colin on HALO’s 25th Anniversary. Let's not have a 50th, though!

This evening gives me great personal pleasure too. My mother, who believed passionately in this cause, would be proud of my association with HALO. In her special way, she adopted it as her own. She would join me along with all of you, I’m sure in praising HALO for the amazing work that it has done over the past quarter century, and in hoping that one day soon its humanitarian work will be done. You can't say that about many charities, so what a privilege it is for all of us to be a part of this.

Related content

Feature

Remembrance 2019

Members of the Royal Family remember the war dead.

A speech by The Duke of Sussex at The Endeavour Fund Awards

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

07 February 2019
Feature

Remembrance 2018

Find out more about how The Royal Family are marking Remembrance 2018

A speech by Prince Harry at The Royal Foundation Forum

So far today you’ve heard William explain The Royal Foundation model of working together. And Catherine has shared with you, our belief in the value of focusing on the long...

28 February 2018

Prince Harry delivers a message from The Queen at RAF Honnington

The presentation of Colours is an opportunity to recognise historic achievements and to look forward to the future with confidence; a confidence built upon the dedication of...

19 July 2017

Prince Harry launches the 2018 Invictus Games

The Invictus Games are coming to Australia – game on down under

07 June 2017

A speech by Prince Harry at the Heads Together training day in Newcastle

If we are all willing to have these conversations, we will end the stigma around mental health once and for all

21 February 2017

A speech by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry at the Heads Together event, London 2017

It is no exaggeration to say that conversations – simple conversations – can be life-changing: in a workplace, in your kitchen at home, with a friend, family member or...

17 January 2017
Feature

Remembrance 2016

The Queen and the Royal Family attend engagements to mark Remembrance 2016

A speech by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry for Heads Together on World Mental Health Day

To us, mental health first aid means getting in there early to support people, before what they're going through becomes more serious or even clinical.

10 October 2016

A speech by Prince Harry as the Coach Core apprenticeship scheme celebrates its nationwide expansion

We have a big vision for Coach Core and want to make it possible for young people all over the country to take part in this programme.

07 October 2016

Prince Harry's speech at the closing ceremony of the Orlando Invictus Games

You are all Invictus. You are now ambassadors for the spirit of these games. Spread the word. Never stop fighting. And do all you can to lift up everyone around you.

12 May 2016
News

Invictus Orlando

09 May 2016

Prince Harry's speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Invictus Games in Orlando

I cannot tell you how proud and excited I am to open the second Invictus games here in America

08 May 2016

Prince Harry speaks in Toronto ahead of the 2017 Invictus Games

I can’t wait to see how Canada embraces the games and rises to the challenge of telling Chapter 3 of the Invictus story

04 May 2016
Press release 28 April 2016

Prince Harry to visit Toronto and Florida

Read more
Feature

The Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales

Find out more about the primary vehicle for Their Royal Highnesses' philanthropic work...

A speech by Prince Harry at an Endeavour Fund reception

Trust them, trust yourselves – for you had the same training.

11 November 2015

A speech by Prince Harry at Fort Belvoir

From that moment, I knew I had a responsibility to help all veterans, who had made huge personal sacrifices for their countries, to lead healthy and dignified lives after...

28 October 2015

A speech by Prince Harry on the Invictus Games at the Ambassador's Residence, Washington DC

Invictus 2016 is going to be a huge success – let’s get out there and let’s make this happen.

28 October 2015
Press release 19 June 2015

An update from Kensington Palace

Read more

A speech by Prince Harry at the Service of Dedication for the Bastion Memorial

The names of the Fallen shine in gold, as they do in our memories.

11 June 2015