William reminisces about charity visits with mother Diana

·3-min read
The Duke of Cambridge (PA) (PA Wire)
The Duke of Cambridge (PA) (PA Wire)

The Duke of Cambridge has described how his mother Diana Princess of Wales started his “great affection” for workers from a charity helping the homeless.

William reminisced about his visits to The Passage, first with Diana as a young boy and then later by himself, during a speech at an awards ceremony in central London marking the charity’s 40th anniversary.

In 2019, the duke become the patron of The Passage, an organisation established in 1980 which has gone on to help more than 135,000 people in crisis through its resource centre, homelessness prevention projects and innovative accommodation services.

Diana first took William and brother the Duke of Sussex to the charity in 1993, when the pair were young boys and William went on to make numerous public and private trips to the organisation.

He presented Colin Chilman, 56, with a Outstanding Achievement award after the former alcoholic, who saw Diana bring her sons to the charity, was able to find a job thanks to the organisation.

William told him: “Colin, what a journey. Well done I am so pleased it’s going well.”

In his speech at the anniversary celebration, postponed for a year due to Covid, the duke said: “Over the many years that I have visited The Passage, first with my mother when I was just a small boy, I have developed a great affection for everyone who is here.

“Every time I come here, I am touched by your warmth and friendliness, and the dignity and respect you show to every single person who comes through your door.

The Duke of Cambridge speaks to award winner Colin Chilman (Julian Simmonds/The Daily Telegraph) (PA Wire)
The Duke of Cambridge speaks to award winner Colin Chilman (Julian Simmonds/The Daily Telegraph) (PA Wire)

“I am always so impressed to see and hear the difference that The Passage makes to the lives of people who are experiencing homelessness.

“And I find it particularly inspiring to meet former clients who were helped by The Passage’s wonderful staff and volunteers in their time of need, and who have come back to help others now that they are doing much better themselves.

“The last 18 months of the pandemic have shown us how much we rely on each other to get by – and just how strong our communities can be when we work together to get things done.”

Mr Chilman now works as a kitchen porter after the charity based in Victoria, central London – which has supported him over 35 years, put him through a hotel training course.

He said: “I remember seeing Diana many years ago and she was with her boys. They were so young.

“I also met William several years ago but I had a long beard. I’m well happy to win this. And extra special to get it from William.

“I just did what I did. From being an alcoholic I quit all that, I went through a bad time and (am) thankful for what has happened.”

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