Charity can make a difference, says William

Published 10 June 2011
The Duke of Cambridge last night outlined his vision to encourage and inspire thousands of young people in the UK.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were the guests of honour at the dazzling tenth anniversary gala dinner of the ARK charity (Absolute Return for Kids).

The star-studded bash at Kensington Palace Gardens was the royal couple's first official public engagement since their wedding in April, and marked ARK’s 10th anniversary.

Guests at the £5,000-a-head dinner included Tom Ford, Elisabeth Murdoch, Colin Firth, Laura Bailey and Mariella Fostrup.

Beyond the glitz and glam, the more serious business of the evening was raising funds for the charity’s work with disadvantaged children through a charity auction that included an artwork by Tracey Emin and a Kenyan safari in a luxury lodge.

There was rapturous applause and wolf whistles as the duke took to the stage to deliver the after-dinner address in which he announced a new partnership between ARK and The Foundation of Prince William, Prince Harry and The Duchess of Cambridge.

“My brother, Catherine and I hope to use our philanthropy as a long-term catalyst for meaningful change,” he said.

The two foundations are to embark on a joint four-year venture to generate educational opportunities for young people in the UK, with a view to launching projects later in sub-Saharan Africa.

He said the two foundations shared a vision and commitment to transform the lives of thousands of young people.

“I know that I am very fortunate," the duke said.

"I’ve had a good education, a secure home, and a loving and supportive family.

"So many young people, however, do not have these advantages and as a result can lack the confidence and knowledge to realise their full potential.”

He added: “Harry and I find ourselves in a position to be able to help. I really believe individuals can make a serious difference, whether it is through wealth, through position or some other advantage.”

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