Last night, Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attended a reception for Leonard Cheshire Disability, the leading charity in the UK that supports disabled people. The reception was held in the State Rooms at St James’s Palace, London.
Leonard Cheshire Disability was formed in 1948 by Leonard Cheshire, a former RAF Pilot. After seeing the devastating effects of the Second World War, which left many injured and disabled, Mr. Cheshire embarked on a lifetime of humanitarian work and fighting injustice. What started when Mr. Cheshire took a dying man into his home and cared for him, has expanded into an international charity, which helps thousands of people with physical and mental disabilities fulfill their potential.
The Queen has been a patron of Leonard Cheshire Disability since 1980. In 1982, she offered Park House at Sandringham to the charity, for use by the disabled residents. Today, it is the Park House Hotel, and continues to offer accessible breaks for disabled people.
When Leonard Cheshire passed away, in 1992, the Queen paid a tribute to him and his achievements in her annual Christmas message. She said: “Perhaps this shining example of what a human being can achieve in a lifetime of dedication can inspire in the rest of us a belief in our own capacity to help others.”
Six years ago, in 2008, Her Majesty opened Agnes Court, the charity’s nursing care home in Banbury, which can accommodate up to 24 people.
Her Majesty at tonight’s reception pic.twitter.com/58Y3FFMYwm
— ♔ Mo_Holland (@Mo_Holland) May 29, 2014
At the reception, the Queen and Prince Philip met with a number of guests, including the renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, with whom Her Majesty was seen sharing a joke. Others in attendance included former Olympic athlete Dame Mary Peters, television presenter Esther Rantzen, and journalist and broadcaster Fiona Phillips. Also present at the reception was Harris, a brown and white Cocker Spaniel used as a guide and companion by disabled residents, who received a pat on the head from Her Majesty.
Clare Pelham, the Chief Executive of Leonard Cheshire Disability, said: ‘It is a huge honour to meet The Queen. I was absolutely amazed at how long she spent with each person – she didn’t just whizz past people.”