Prince William has committed much of his adult life to mental and physical health, and last night, he attended a gala arranged by the City Veteran’s Network at London’s Imperial War Museum.
The Duke of Cambridge is patron of the campaign to raise money to build the new Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) near Loughborough, which will replace the Headley Court centre in the Midlands.
The DNRC will be the main base for healing military wounded in the UK when it opens. There will also be a research centre on the site where scientists will research new medicines and rehab techniques to help future wounded servicemen and women. The DNRC will focus on bionics (high-tech false limbs), neuroprosthetics (techniques to make use of false limbs easier), and regenerative medicine, which will try to replace body cells damaged in war.
There was an auction taking place at the gala to raise money, and speeches by the Duke and a number of veterans.
The Duke met the ambassadors of the DNRC campaign and talked with veterans, including Ibrar Ali and Invictus gold medalist Luke Wighman.
In William’s speech he said: “When completed next year, the DNRC will be a world leading centre for rehabilitation. It will provide pioneering treatments. It will give the brave men and women of our armed forces access to the very best rehabilitation facilities on offer, anywhere in the world. You will all agree with me that they deserve nothing less.”
He also joked about his son, Prince George’s jealousy when he helped demolish the old building.
“I was present at the end of 2014 when the first building was demolished to make way for the new construction,” the Duke said. “George was very envious as I got to drive a digger.”
The DNRC project was launched by the late Duke of Westminster, who donated a large sum of money to the cause.
William explained was a ‘dedicated reservist’ who ‘wanted to ensure that these men and women received the very best clinical help to get them on their journey back into work and into life beyond injury.’
“Gerald resolved to do something about it and in typical fashion, he launched this remarkable initiative himself.
“With a personal gift of £50 million, he made the first step towards building what will become a 21st century version of Headley Court.”
The Duke of Cambridge also thanked the City Veterans’ Network for hosting the event; the charity was formed in 2014 to unite serviceman and women across the City and Financial sector and raise funds for service charities, with donations from the gala going to the DNRC.
Prince William was recently at the IWM when he met veterans of WWII, including one who survived Auschwitz.