It is a huge pleasure to welcome so many supporters and friends of Duchenne UK here at Highgrove tonight.
Like every parent, my first wish for my children and grand-children is for them to be healthy and happy. I can't imagine how it must feel to hear that your child has been diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This desperately cruel disease only affects boys. It is usually discovered in early childhood and it’s the most common fatal genetic disease to affect children. There is no treatment and there is, as yet, no cure.
I agreed to become the Patron of Duchenne Children’s Trust because of Eli (Emily and Nick Crossley's charming little son) who was diagnosed with Duchenne a few years ago. Having known him as a friend and contemporary of my own grandchildren from their very early years I wanted to help in any way I could.
Emily and Nick have been tireless leaders of Duchenne Children's Trust over the last three years. They are now forming Duchenne UK with another charity 'Joining Jack', founded by Andy and Alex Johnson, and I feel sure that this new alliance will go from strength to strength.
Parents know, more than anyone else, how vital it is to fund research and I'm told that new developments in genetics are very encouraging. Emily and Nick are already collaborating with a number of charities to fund research projects and clinical trials. Through their dedication and sheer hard work, and with the help of all their supporters - many of whom are here tonight - so much has already been achieved. But there is still a long way to go. I know that you will all join me in my heartfelt hope that everything Duchenne UK is doing to promote research will mean that a cure for this devastating disease will be found in the near future, so that Eli and thousands of other boys worldwide will be spared its misery.