Prince William Marks Anniversary of Same Children's Hospice Princess Diana Opened 30 Years Ago
Prince William paid a special tribute to his late mother Princess Diana when he visited a hospice charity that she opened 30 years ago
William, 36, visited Acorns hospice in Selly Oak, Birmingham, on Tuesday — almost three decades after Diana opened the haven for seriously-ill kids in December 1988. At the time, it was one of the first children hospices in the world.
In the last year, the hospice has provided care for more than 870 children and their families. On Tuesday, William met with some of those who use Acorns’ facilities, such the hydrotherapy pool and the multi-sensory room. He then took part in the celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary.
Some of the staff and supporters, who were present at both events, said they remembered the moment Diana visited “like it was yesterday,” and declared that William had inherited his mother’s way with children.
During a visit to the activity room, a group of kids and their careers were painting and making dinosaurs. He asked one little girl whether hers was a triceratops.
“George is obsessed with dinosaurs,” he revealed. “We’ve been learning all about them.”
Before leaving, William unveiled a plaque commemorating his visit — just like his mother did before him – with the help of Bradley and Assya and signed a visitor’s book by her signed picture.
“You are going to have to make some more room,” he said, referring to the space on the wall.
In a speech Acorns Hospice President, Kay Alexander, said, “Thirty years ago HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, came here to open Acorns. I was here and it was great. It was a wonderful day, the accomplishment of so many dreams. It was only the third children’s hospice in the world . . . it means more to us than we say to have you coming here today.
“I am going to get tearful,” she added.
“Don’t, you’ll start me off as well,” William laughed.
His visit was part of a busy “away day” for William in the West Midlands. Earlier, William attended the first graduation ceremony for one of his charity’s, SkillForce, that aims to help build school children’s character and confidence.
SkillForce’s Prince William Awards were held at the University of Birmingham. In a powerful speech, William said: “Children and young people today need our help more than ever. They face a level of pressure that previous generations simply did not experience. I have spoken before about the burden of social media and the sense of being on call 24/7, which can affect everyone’s mental wellbeing.
“At a young age, children need to learn the tools to deal with such challenges; the tools to develop their self-esteem, their confidence and resilience to lead happy, healthy lives and to succeed and thrive. No child should ever have to feel like a failure, yet sadly, so many do. But if we work together, we can find answers to the problems faced by this generation.”
William received a huge welcome from around 150 school kids as he arrived to hand out the awards that reward resilience and character.
He beamed as he walked through the noisy university hall, and he was welcomed to the stage for the awards by comedian and author David Walliams, who told the kids William wasn’t the “ginger” prince. But he was “the most important one. Even though George Clooney didn’t show up for his wedding.”
And, to the kids’ laughs, Walliams added, “one day His Royal Highness will be king and nearly as powerful as Simon Cowell.”
Later, he will unveil a statue to honor a former British secret agent who helped save thousands of people from persecution by the Nazis during the 1920s and 1930s.