Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
ON THE evening of May 7, 2008, the City of London will host City Salute, a remarkable sunset pageant organised to celebrate and support this country’s armed forces and their families and to raise money for injured servicemen and women.
Funds raised will go to the City Salute Appeal, launched today (March 27), whose Royal Patrons are Prince William and Prince Harry. The Appeal will support Headley Court, the tri-service Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre. Projects funded will be a swimming pool and sports complex for physiotherapy and family accommodation for relatives of servicemen and women undergoing treatment.
City Salute will be a celebration and spectacle that combines traditional elements and state-of-the-art son et lumière projections, with the edifice of St Paul’s providing the dramatic backdrop. It will be the City of London demonstrating its appreciation and admiration for the remarkable character and qualities of our Armed Forces.
The full event programme is still to be finalised but confirmed are:
Band of HM Royal Marines marching through Temple Bar.
Ceremonial troops and armoured vehicles of The Household Cavalry.
RAF fly past.
Son et lumière – St Paul’s Cathedral.
Giant screens showing specially commissioned short films about the lives of the forces and their families.
The event is being produced by LiveNation, who also worked on last year’s Concert for Diana and Live Earth.
Supporters of the Appeal come from right across the City. They include alternative investment managers Man Group plc; the Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund; investment managers Sarasin and Partners LLP; insurers Hiscox PLC; partners from law firm Allen & Overy LLP; and the Brokers at Bryan, Garnier & Co, as well as a number of private individuals.
Help for Heroes and SSAFA (the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) are the two charities that will benefit from the City Salute Appeal. Individuals can donate from today at www.citysalute.org (see right-hand panel).
Prince William said today: “As brothers, we are delighted to be supporting the City of London in saluting all those who serve their country. As well as raising money for vital rehabilitation facilities, City Salute is an opportunity for us all to celebrate the fantastic contribution made by our servicemen and women and their families. It is also a chance to pay tribute to the casualty evacuation and medical staff of all three Services who protect and care for the wounded so brilliantly and with such tireless dedication.”
The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman David Lewis, commented: “The City of London is immensely proud of its historic and very close association with the Armed Forces, which dates back to when the City was founded. I am delighted that through City Salute we have an opportunity to celebrate these links, to salute the men and women of the Armed Forces, and to show our gratitude for the courage and forbearance displayed by them and by their families.”
SSAFA Chief Executive, Major General Andrew Cumming CBE, said: “City Salute is a poignant and fitting occasion that will show the world that London understands and appreciates the outstanding contribution made by our Armed Forces. The funds raised will enable SSAFA to continue to provide practical support to servicemen and women and their families who, returning from conflict, are facing a particularly challenging time in their lives.”
Bryn Parry, Help for Heroes said: “This is an important moment to celebrate the mettle of our young soldiers, sailors and airmen. Unquestioningly and with the highest professionalism, they continually place themselves in unrelenting danger, more often than not, with a good sense of humour. The City Salute Appeal is London’s chance to say thank you and to raise much needed funds to help those who have been injured rebuild their lives.”
And finally, Guy Monson, Managing Partner of Sarasin & Partners, and City Salute Appeal Committee, said: “The UK’s financial centre, the City, owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to our service personnel. I would encourage everyone in the City to show their appreciation and support for these young men, women and their families.”