The work you do is utterly essential. Its very nature means that your achievements are rarely made public, and that few people in this country will ever know just how great a debt we all owe you. But for those of us privileged enough to understand something of what you do, the difference you make to our security, our prosperity and to the defence of our values, is both clear and of the utmost importance.

...the Commonwealth has a been a cornerstone of my life for as long as I can remember and I count myself incredibly fortunate to have been able to visit almost every corner of it and to have met so many remarkable people.

I was therefore delighted to learn that your first-ever national charity partner is The Silver Line, of which I am Patron.  You will perhaps indulge a proud Patron for taking a moment to praise the work of this wonderful organisation, which provides a 24-hour telephone service for older people who are feeling lonely or isolated.  Since its launch in 2013, it has received over 2 million calls – and the support of Saga will help ensure that its vital work can continue.

I’d just like to say thank you to everybody at New Pathways and all the SARC centres throughout the country. I have visited a lot of them so I know what wonderful work you do for the victims of sexual abuse. I don’t know where they would be without you.

I am pleased to be able to join you on this occasion, when I discover to my astonishment that I actually managed to coincide with exactly the same day of the month as 50 years ago when I came. I don’t know about some of you but I find it very hard to know where those 50 years have gone, and whether any of you were here at the time. One or two of you may have been. So for me, perhaps you can imagine, the joy of the moment of walking into this remarkable and famous chapel and hearing this great choir sing that very special hymn was immensely moving and brought several tears to my eyes.

I’m enormously proud to have myself associated with The Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme and hearing about the plans to expand it is enormously encouraging. And, if I may say so, it is wonderful to see that so many of you already have applied and are interested in doing this particular scheme.

Today we celebrate the incredible imagination and talent of every one of you who sent in a story. Your writing also celebrates the richness and variety of the English language, using what the Anglo-Saxons called ‘the word-hoard’ – your stories sparkle and ignite. And I must add that it has been a fascinating and, as always, a virtually impossible task to choose the winners…

As joint Presidents of Elephant Family, my wife and I really could not be more delighted than to welcome you all here this evening for what is a very special event. And nor could we prouder, I hasten to say, to support this magnificent charity in their devoted efforts to address the much overlooked Asian wildlife crisis through their pioneering work protecting landscapes for the elephants and other wildlife that live within them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you again for this much-appreciated award. Above all, it will continue to inspire me to hope that we can see a future for this country in concentrating on developing a reputation for the most environmentally-friendly food production system in the world, with products that tell a really good story,  emphasize the importance of native breeds, support family farms and put soil health and fertility at the centre of the entire process.  We can but hope...!

It gives me great pleasure, therefore, to launch the ‘At Ease’ Appeal.  Through this Appeal, we shall be able to introduce new services and innovative treatments that will be accessible to more Veterans than ever before.