Published 24 April 2009

It is, quite simply, unique – a worthy focus for our Nation’s pride in those who have given their lives in the service of others.

The Duke of Cambridge

After 12 short years, the National Memorial Arboretum has already become part of the fabric of this Nation.  Any memorial to those who have given their lives for others is poignant.  But the vision behind this extraordinary place is something else all together.  It is, quite simply, unique – a worthy focus for our Nation’s pride in those who have given their lives in the service of others.  It is the most fitting way for us to express our solemn gratitude to them.

Already 3,000 children a year come here to undertake school projects.  There are over 200 annual memorial events.  There are hundreds of thousands of visitors.  All this needs infrastructure: meeting halls; the enlargement of the education centre; improvements to the Chapel, however, I thought it was pretty good when I went there earlier and also expansion and re-design of the restaurant and shop.

In short, it needs the Future Foundations Appeal.

It is an immense honour for me to be the Patron of this Appeal – to have the chance to contribute something towards ensuring that future generations can come and learn with pride of the great debt that we owe all those commemorated here – military and civilians from the police, fire and ambulance services.

So, I would just like to say thank you to all the staff who work here so tirelessly.  Thank you to the Appeal Committee for the vital work that you are undertaking.  Thank you to those of you who are supporting this Appeal.  And finally, thank you for according me this great privilege of becoming your Patron.