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Princes William and Harry join forces to open Help for Heroes centre

May 20, 2013
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Prince William and Prince Harry joined forces on Monday morning to open a new Help for Heroes centre in Wiltshire. The Duke of Cambridge and younger brother Harry, who are both members of the armed forces, opened Tedworth House in Tidworth. The brothers charmed the crowds and warmly engaged with injured and sick servicemen and women and their families.

Father-to-be William expressed his gratitude as he was given a bunch of flowers for wife Kate Middleton, a babygro and a teddy bear. A rousing speech by RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot William officially opened the centre, which has the capacity to accommodate 50 residents, four families and over 150 day visitors. Following his brother's speech, Harry waved the flag to symbolically open the Hero Ride, in the biggest cycling demonstration of national support for the wounded this country has ever seen.

On 2 June, thousands of cyclists from all corners of the country will meet in Blackheath, south London where they will ride together, led by over 100 wounded Servicemen, women and veterans, into central London.

The centre is one of four new units in England which will offer respite care and rehabilitation to injured and sick service personnel, veterans and their families. The cause is one that is close to William, Kate and his brother Harry's hearts — last week the trio donated £100,000 to help wounded soldiers trek to the South Pole. The popular trio made the generous contribution from their Endeavour fund, which was set up last year in support of injured servicemen and women taking on exceptional challenges.

Apache helicopter pilot Harry, who returned from second tour of Afghanistan in January, will play an active role in the challenge which sees him joining four British team members to race against the US and other Commonwealth countries to journey the treacherous 210 miles to the pole. The four week-long race takes place in November and December and will raise funds for the Walking with the Wounded charity. Harry, 28, and his team mates will be pulling 70kg arctic sledges 210 miles in winds of 50mph and temperatures of minus 45C. The Prince announced his participation last month. "They've given their all for the cause of freedom," he said, before joking to his Australian and American comrades, "I'll have a brew ready for you when you reach us at the South Pole".The latest challenge will be the second adventure for Harry, who teamed up with the disabled servicemen to trek to the North Pole in April 2011. Championing the armed forces' causes has been at the forefront of Harry's recent work outside of his role as Apache helicopter co-pilot in the Army Air Corps. Harry was in the US last week on a seven-day long tour which saw him promoting the rehabilitation of injured American and British troops and publicising his own charities.

The second day of his stateside tour involved a solemn visit to Arlington Cemetery, Virginia, a historic and peaceful military cemetery. Wearing his Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals No 1 dress uniform with a sky blue Army Air Corps beret, the Apache helicopter pilot's first stop was Section 60 of the historic military cemetery. In this section — where soldiers who have lost their lives in recent conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan are buried — he laid a wreath. Harry, known as Captain Wales to his comrades, appeared genuinely moved by the experience, no doubt all too aware of the risks faced by troops in conflict zones. "To my comrades-in-arms of the United States of America," read the handwritten card on Harry's wreath. "Who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of freedom, Captain Henry Wales". The sporty Prince was also tasked with inaugurating the Warrior Games, where wounded servicemen and women from the U.S. and Britain take part in sports competitions. Not one to watch from the sidelines, Harry joined a team playing sitting volleyball before he watched several of the day's events.

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