Prince Harry gave a moving speech at St James’s Palace last night, urging injured veterans to “be part of a team again.”
Speaking as Patron of The Endeavour Fund, Harry detailed a new project to help war veterans who have been injured in service and spoke of the difficulties they face as they recover from physical and psychological injuries.
“For some people, the struggle to move beyond injury or past experience continues. They suffer in silence, unwilling or unaware of which way to turn for help,” he said.
For whatever reason they have become ‘the hard to reach’ – no longer accessible through the traditional networks, as they have gone to ground, believing that the right help isn’t out there for them, or it’s all just too confusing and complicated.
The Prince, an ex-serviceman himself, followed a moving account by injured sailor Chris Herbert who lost his leg when he was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007.
Initially created in 2012 as part of the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, The Endeavour Fund was primarily fuelled by Prince Harry’s passion for supporting wounded servicemen and women. Harry once joked that Endeavour puts injured veterans “back in harm’s way” by encouraging them to play sports and go on adventures including mountain climbing and sailing.
In his speech, Harry touched on his vision for the Fund’s future, saying: “In this next phase, we will be asking those who have taken part in previous endeavors to take a leading role in future challenges; some as project managers, but more significantly to act as peer mentors, forming a support network for those veterans who have not found the impulse to come forward.”
He described alumni of the Fund as “inspirational” and said they had the opportunity to help injured personnel “rediscover their sense of purpose through sports and challenges.”
The Prince ended his speech saying that “Those who have spent time in the military are proud to acknowledge that they are defined by that service. To describe yourself as a soldier, sailor or airman means something.
But when that is taken away through injury or illness, sometimes that definition of self and all that goes with it can become a negative, anchoring you to the past.
The Endeavor Fund is here to support and engage these men and women through sport and adventurous challenges.”
Last night’s event was attended by a number of distinguished war veterans, including Lance Corporal Jonathan Le Galloudec, who was shot in the spine during a deployment to Iraq in 2007. He spoke about how the biggest thing the Endeavor Fund does is restore the confidence of those who had suffered from injuries on the battlefield.
“I had mild PTSD and I didn’t want to go out in public for fear of being attacked again from the so-called enemy,” he said.
“And on the other side, if you’ve got a physical injury, you don’t like people looking at you. You want to be normal – if there is such a thing – but you don’t want to go out in public for fear of people looking at you and what they might think. We need to draw them out of the darkness, so to speak, and I think the Endeavor Fund is the right way to do that.”
Over the last three years, the Fund has provided invaluable support to nearly 1,000 sick and injured servicemen, and continues to do so every year. The Fund’s newest project involves previous participants helping provide support and adventures for others injured in the line of duty.