I am so glad to be able to welcome you all to Clarence House for this second presentation of The Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy.
The role of philanthropists, as you know far better than I, is of ever greater importance. All of us have seen the devastating effect of the recession on economies across the world. The support of the private sector and, in particular, individual philanthropists, is essential in order to sustain many activities that could otherwise be severely damaged by the financial crisis.
I really am delighted that the introduction of this Medal has been positively received across a wide spectrum of opinion. I believe it is of the utmost importance to thank and celebrate the remarkable generosity of people who are contributing to sustain the lifeblood of our cultural and artistic life. The Medal is designed to honour arts philanthropy of all kinds nationwide. The Medal aims to inspire everyone to think of giving to the arts, by shining a spotlight on the wonderful work that is already taking place. I know from many of this nation’s flagship arts and cultural institutions, let alone from my own charities, that they would have the greatest difficulty in functioning, or even, surviving if they did not enjoy the support of many passionate individuals, such as those we are honouring today.
I hear from Colin Tweedy that Arts & Business is expanding its work in the area of philanthropy and the Medal recipients act as role models for Arts & Business in advocating philanthropic endeavour. I am particularly pleased therefore that three of the honourees from last year, Roger de Haan, Carol Høgel and Lord and Lady Sainsbury are able to be with us today.
As you can imagine, the task of selecting the recipients each year is to say the least, a challenging one! Again, the long list was prepared by my Arts Advisory Group and the final selection made by three artists, Ronald Harwood, Dame Monica Mason and Christopher le Brun, under Colin Tweedy’s non-voting Chairmanship.
I would particularly like to thank all the selectors for their time and dedication. Of course, I am sure you would also want to join me in congratulating this year’s medallists. We honour you for your tireless support of the arts and that your shining example will be an inspiration to others. Bless you for all you mean to the U.K. and to the worldwide reputation of our creative artists…
Before I present the 2009 Medals, I would like to mark this, the last public occasion that Lady Kennedy will be present, as Chairman of Arts & Business. Helena Kennedy is stepping down very sadly this month after four years as Chairman and, as President of Arts & Business, I know I speak for the whole Board and staff in thanking her wholeheartedly for her tireless contribution and in wishing her well in her future endeavours.