Duke of Cambridge pays tribute to Jewish Care at charity's 25th anniversary dinner


The Duke of Cambridge paid a glowing tribute to Jewish Care at its 25th anniversary dinner tonight.

Addressing 1,500 people at the event at Alexandra Palace, the Duke praised "the real and loving care" the charity provided to thousands of elderly and vulnerable people.

He described Jewish Care as an outstanding organisation, before wishing it "mazeltov" on its anniversary.

It was only the third public engagement by the Duke since the birth of Princess Charlotte last month, and the first time he has appeared at a communal fundraiser.

Click here to see our picture gallery of the event.

His speech in full:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for inviting me to join you this evening for your birthday celebrations. Nearly two hundred years ago, in 1819, there were two quite monumental births. The first was monumental for my family – the birth of my great, great, great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria, who went on to live 81 years and whose daughter-in-law, Alexandra, gave her name to this amazing building.

“The second remarkable birth was of an organisation, which later became known as the Jewish Blind Society. Over the next two centuries, the world changed considerably. Yet there has always been one constant in the United Kingdom – a Jewish community which has organised itself to support those who need help and support. Whether in the time of the Jewish Board of Guardians, or the Jewish Welfare Board or, in our generation, Jewish Care, there is a proud story to be told of self-reliance and communal responsibility.

“This common thread through history – of caring for one another and generosity of time and money – is something that many sectors of British society can be rightly proud of. But you in this room deserve particular praise. The results of your commitment to one another within the Jewish community are obvious – the real and loving care that thousands of elderly and vulnerable people receive, among the many works that you carry out.

“Your care for one another has another, less tangible value. During a year when many in the Jewish community have had cause to feel under threat, for no reason other than simply the fact of your Jewishness, your unity is all the more precious. Your commitment and loyalty to one another, and to society more widely, is ultimately what keeps you strong.

“I was reminded before I came here tonight that an ancestor of mine, a previous Duke of Cambridge in fact, visited the Great Synagogue in London in 1809 and attended a Sabbath service there with his brothers.

“It is a matter of great pride that these bonds in our society run as deep as they run long. Your care for one another is not just a feeling, but it is – as we are reminded tonight – a material fact. I know that Jewish Care is viewed as a leader in the social care field and uses its knowledge, expertise and experience to engage in the debate on high quality care, especially in relation to dementia.

“Your Holocaust Survivors Centre is a second home for many people who were liberated 70 years ago from those evil places.

“All of you in this room, in some way, play your part in making all this happen through this outstanding organisation. Through your generosity and commitment, I am sure Jewish Care will continue to thrive and grow for the next 25 years.

“Once again, congratulations on everything you have achieved. I wish you a wonderful evening and a happy birthday. Mazeltov.”

During the evening the Duke spoke to Holocaust Survivors’ Centre members Hedi Fisher and Freddie Knoller, the HSC handyman and caretaker, Magellan Mukete and 101-year-old Dorothy Conway, a resident at the Rosetrees home in Friern Barnet.

He also met Simon Davies, who is reliant on an electric wheelchair and speaks with the aid of a word synthesizer. He has been able to enjoy a more independent life since moving into Jewish Care’s Rela Goldhill Lodge in Golders Green in 1996 and has just moved into his own flat.

One of the youngest the Duke was introduced to was Aimee Cohen, a year nine pupil at King Solomon High, who is a young leader at Redbridge Jewish Community Centre.

Ivor Baddiel, brother of David, also met the Duke. The Baddiels’ father, Colin, a member of the charity’s Leonard Sainer Centre in Edgware for those living with dementia, was featured in the appeal film.

Jewish Care chairman Steven Lewis said the royal presence was “recognition of the vital role Jewish Care plays both in our community and wider society.

“Behind all the glitz and glamour of this evening, there are thousands of people who rely on us and our services and it’s them we are all here for."

Lionel Richie was also at the dinner, entertaining guests with a rendition of 'Hello', which was the favourite song of the Duke's mother, Princess Diana.

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