In 2012, when Samantha Sykes & Kimberley Frank were tragically murdered, as the father of Samantha I could never have imagined that, just a few years later I would be with my family receiving an award from HRH Prince Andrew.
Each year the Duke of York Community Initiative award charities, that they believe have made a significant impact in the local community, with the Royal Seal of Approval. We are delighted that our work has been recognised for what we have achieved and at Sheffield Cathedral Julie Sykes, Ben Sykes, Richard Harrison and myself were invited to receive the award from HRH Prince Andrew.
I am amazed how far we, as a charity have come. It is staggering to comprehend how many young people need support and only with all your help can we support those who need support. Prince Andrew gave a short speech, to all present and he finished that speech by saying something that I totally agree with. He said there are two words, used frequently and in many cases those two words never really express how much they actually mean. Prince Andrew said today to all our award winners Thank You.
As a charity, we all work extremely hard but we cannot be made to work hard unless our supporters continue to raise funds to support our young victims. Sami gave up her life trying to help two of her friends and that is something that often, still brings me to tears. Meeting Prince Andrew to receive an award also brought a tear to my eye, but that is because I cannot express how proud I am of what we do in memory of Sami & Kim. Seeing Ben, Sami’s brother, collecting the certificate on behalf of the charity was an occasion of pride, it was tinged with a little sadness, as the reality that it took a selfless act of a remarkable young lady, for us to be in the same company as HRH Prince Andrew. Looking on as Ben spoke to Prince Andrew I could not help thinking of my brother Ian who worked so hard to push me personally to get this amazing charity going. Ian would have been even more proud than I am. I am sure Ian, Sami and Kim were there with us, looking down at us all with pride.
This award gives us Royal Approval and we can apply for assistance and finance to move the charity forward. Our long-term goal of building a safe house will be an area we will be looking to receive assistance with from the Duke of York team.