William thanks charity from ‘bottom of heart’ for support

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The Duke of Cambridge has thanked a bereavement charity from the “bottom of his heart” for helping youngsters from military families who have lost loved ones.

William and the Duchess of Cambridge were guests of honour at a fundraising gala at St James’s Palace last night.

The philanthropic organisation 100 Women in Hedge Funds raised more than £675,000 by staging the black-tie do event in support of the Child Bereavement Charity.

Since 2009, William has been patron of the body which educates professionals and supports families, both when a child dies and when a child is bereaved.

The duke said in his address: “What you are both doing together to alleviate the suffering of children who have lost family members, and bereaved families who have experienced the tragedy of losing a child, is beyond praise.

“The Child Bereavement Charity has now directly helped thousands of families.”

He also spoke about the work they now did to help the children of servicemen and women.

“This year too, the charity has brought its compassion and experience to the aid of bereaved military families, whose children suffer so much – in a way, for all of our sakes.

“I thank you for doing this from the bottom of my heart.

The second-in-line to the throne, who is an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot, is also patron of 100 Women in Hedge Funds’s charitable initiatives for a three-year period.

He joked about the prospect of encountering the full force of the organisation.

“The other half of this great collaboration, 100 Women in Hedge Funds, is 10 years old this year,” the duke said.

“’A hundred’ has now grown into 10,000 – I have to say, I’m quite glad you’ve kept the original title: I’m not sure I’d dare turn up to speak to 10,000 women.”

William’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales, died when he was just 15 years old.

He told the fundraisers: “You have all been wonderfully supportive of this cause, which is so close to our hearts.”

He was joined by Kate who wore a red floor-length, flowing evening dress with flared sleeves.

100 Women in Hedge Funds has been focusing its fundraising work on three charities of which William is a patron, devoting a year to each.

During 2010 it raised money for Centrepoint, with a similar gala event generating almost £500,000 for the homeless charity.

This year it is focusing on the Child Bereavement Charity and in 2012 it will switch its fundraising efforts to Skill Force.

Ann Chalmers, chief executive of the Child Bereavement Charity, was invited to William and Kate’s wedding in April along with the heads of other charities the duke is associated with.

Ms Chalmers said: “The Child Bereavement Charity is immensely grateful to have been chosen as beneficiary of 100 Women in Hedge Funds London Gala.

“The funds raised will be transformational in helping us extend our reach to more bereaved children, families and professionals throughout the UK.”