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Duchess of Cambridge pays tribute to SportsAid’s work on its 40th birthday

As she busily prepares for her official trip to India and Bhutan, the Duchess of Cambridge has still taken time to remember a significant milestone for one of her charities. In a letter to SportsAid, which is celebrating its 40th birthday, she offered her best wishes and spoke of the charity’s impact on British sport.

The Duchess wrote: “As Patron, I would like to wish SportsAid a very happy 40th birthday, and offer my best wishes to everyone who has played a part in their success. Thank you to those who have, and are, supporting SportsAid. Your efforts make a huge difference to thousands of young people and their families,” adding: “Everyone involved in this great cause should be incredibly proud of the impact SportsAid has had on the success of British sport over the last four decades.”

The charity, founded in 1976, assists and supports future sporting stars by providing financial assistance so they might compete equally with competitors around the world. Since becoming its Patron in 2013, the Duchess has visited many young people at the start of their sporting careers and observed a number of its projects.

Speaking of its work and legacy, Catherine said: “In the last 40 years, SportsAid has given a helping hand to talented young sports people across the United Kingdom. I have been fortunate enough to meet many current and former athletes who have benefited from the charity’s support,” adding: “It is always incredibly clear how the help and recognition these athletes receive at such a crucial, formative stage of their sporting lives gives them that all-important boost they need to fulfil their potential.”

The charity was initially funded by the private sector, Football Pools and money it raised on its own. Since 1997, its main source of funding has been from the National Lottery which allows it to help athletes by covering training and competition fees and providing accommodation, transportation, kit and nutrition services.

Later this year, SportsAid will hold its inaugural SportsAid Week  from Monday 26, September to Sunday 2 October. Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds, who won two Gold medals for Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games, will be providing her support. The week aims to encourage schools, universities, workplaces, individuals and sports clubs throughout the country to raise funds for up-and-coming British talent.

Simmonds said of her experience with SportsAid: “The support SportsAid gave to me when I was younger made a real difference so early on in my career. They recognised the potential I had and helped contribute towards covering the costs a young athlete and their family can face when training and competing.”

She went on to say: “SportsAid Week is a great way for people across the country to show their support for the next generation of British athletes straight after the Rio Olympics and Paralympics. There will be lots of fun and exciting activities going on to help increase awareness of SportsAid and raise funds for the sports stars of the future. It’s an exciting new initiative to get involved in.”