I know that I am very fortunate: I have the support of my family and friends; I do a job I enjoy …and I have Catherine. But I have learnt, through working with some truly inspiring charities – none more so than Skillforce - that these things can never be taken for granted.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  Thank you for this warm, Lancastrian welcome. 

I know that I am very fortunate: I have the support of my family and friends; I do a job I enjoy …and I have Catherine. But I have learnt, through working with some truly inspiring charities – none more so than Skillforce - that these things can never be taken for granted. 

Skillforce is an extraordinary charity. It mentors and educates young people who are facing some of the toughest challenges that life can bring. It unlocks their potential, teaching them to find and use their own talents to help themselves better their own lives. This charity has transformed the future for so many. 

That is why I am delighted today to be launching the Skillforce Prince’s Award. This will recognise outstanding achievement by remarkable young men and women who make an exceptional contribution to their communities. 

Skillforce captures for me so much of what I admire about my grandfather’s Duke of Edinburgh Awards and my father’s Prince’s Trust, which have both set me an inspiring – and slightly daunting - example to follow. 

A word, too, about this wonderful, innovative place. The Darwen Aldridge Community Academy is ground-breaking. I am grateful to Brendan Loughran and Rod Aldridge for showing Catherine and me just how unique it is. I am convinced the Academy will transform the lives of families in Darwen and, through its example, countless others elsewhere. 

So, we both wish you, Skillforce and the Academy every success for an exciting future.