Anti-mine campaigner

Diana's Charities

The death of the Princess of Wales has focused attention on the charities and causes with which she was closely identified.

Charity workers will be among the thousands who follow the coffin of the Princess of Wales in Saturday's funeral procession from St James's Palace to Westminster Abbey.

Until July 1996, the princess was linked with more than 100 charities ranging from Barnado's to the Variety Club of New Zealand, but she cut ties with most of them as part of her attempt to lead a more private life in the aftermath of her divorce.

Now the charities with which she was still associated - Centrepoint, The English National Ballet, Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, The Leprosy Mission, The National Aids Trust and The Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Trust - are facing up to a future without a patron whose backing was impossible to evaluate.

A spokeswoman for Great Ormond Street Hospital, with which the princess had been involved since 1987, said: "Her support was invaluable and incalculable."

The hospital has set up a memorial fund in the princess's name and has decided to turn a fundraising concert on November 12, planned in conjunction with the Royal Academy and to have been attended by the princess, into a memorial concert.

Jim Fletcher, spokesman for the English National Ballet, which furthers knowledge and enjoyment of classical ballet, said the company was devastated by the princess's death. He said it had left a void and that she was irreplaceable.

Gavin Hart of the National Aids Trust, which promotes awareness of the disease and helps prevent the spread of HIV, said a "book of hope" had been opened to collect tributes and messages of condolence from people with Aids and HIV and their friends and families. A bank account has also been opened to collect donations from people wanting to pay tribute to the princess.

Mr Hart said Diana had done much to remove the stigma of Aids and added that her contribution to Aids awareness had been immeasurable. "In our opinion she was the foremost ambassador for Aids awareness on the planet and no one can fill her shoes in terms of the work she did."

His views were echoed by other charitable organisations. A spokesman for the British Red Cross, whose campaign to ban landmines had received much publicised support from Diana, said that, for many, the princess was the landmine campaign and that she would be impossible to replace.

The Royal Marsden NHS Trust, a London hospital specialising in the treatment of cancer, was visited by Princess Diana on her first solo official trip as a young bride and was one of the organisations which benefited from the recent auction of her clothes in New York. Rebecca Mosley, the trust's communications manager, said the princess had done much to remove the stigma and taboo associated with diseases such as cancer, Aids, HIV and leprosy.

"Her genuine concern for the plight of others and her ability to talk to anybody and make them feel special were her remarkable qualities," she said. "Her loss has been felt here very deeply because of the wonderful work she did here with patients. She will be very deeply missed."

The decision to set up a central fund in memory of the Princess of Wales received widespread support. Victor Adebowale, chief executive of the charity Centrepoint which helps homeless young people, welcomed the move and said: "It is obvious that the public wants to remember a princess they loved, in a way she would approve of.

"Diana was so caring and concerned for homeless young people and many others in distress. The memorial fund is a fitting way to remember a remarkable human being."

Related material (The BBC does not endorse the contents of external sites):


National Aids Trust

English National Ballet

Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital

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