Ladies and gentleman I must say I feel enormously proud to be able to join you today both as Patron of Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust, and also of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association.
As many of you will know, I felt greatly honoured to follow in my Grandmother's footsteps as Patron of the latter. One of the great joys in my life, and I know my wife's, has been the privilege of being able to meet on frequent occasions with the veterans from the Battle of Britain, those of "The Few" who thank God are still with us, and who continue to inspire us, as a result of the extraordinary contribution they made during the last war.
I remember when I was very small, thinking now having just become a grandfather, that one of the great things was having stories told to me about the war, and wanting to know everything in those days, as I was born in 1948. And of course I was lucky enough to meet Douglas Bader and others when I was quite young, so I do at least have some idea of the remarkable nature of such people, like of course the wonderful Lady Veterans who are here today from the Filter Room, who also at the age of 18, 19, 20 were ensuring that this country never gave up. I was hearing from them just now and they were playing such a vital part themselves, even though I heard that as a result of the constant bending over the plotting table they've all ended up with very bad backs as they get older!
Ladies and gentlemen one of the great things I think about this project is that we have managed to save Bentley Priory, the house here, and ensure that there is a suitable museum because so often when these sorts of sites are sold, if you are not careful, they end up in a disastrous situation. So I was extremely glad and again proud that my Regeneration Trust was able to play such a useful brokering role I hope, in finding a solution which I think on the whole has been successful. We now have both the heritage element and the residential apartments - at the same time as two Spitfires coming out of the sun to form a flypast!
So now I shall draw my speech to a conclusion - before the next attack - and just say that I'm thrilled that we found a sustainable future for the Priory I just want to congratulate all those who played such an important part in making it possible.
Finally, just as they are coming back, before Air Commodore Peter Brothers died in 2008 he issued a stern warning to his fellow veterans and campaigners he said "we've won the Battle of Britain, now we must win the Battle of Bentley Priory" and I think ladies and gentlemen that we've managed to grant him his dying wish. And we now have a fitting tribute to those who sacrificed their young lives for us all in that crucial Battle of Britain.
Nothing could give me greater pleasure and pride than to unveil this bust of Air Marshall Dowding, who played such a vital part in the Battle, and to declare the Bentley Priory Museum open.