Sheepshanks' speech from royal visit

IPSWICH Town non-executive chairman David Sheepshanks today gave a speech to welcome Prince Charles to Portman Road.“Your Royal Highness, The Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriff, Mr Mayor, Ladies & Gentleman“It gives us great pleasure to welcome you, Sir, to Portman Road to witness at first hand the very important work of our Community Trust and, in particular, your life changing Prince's Trust TEAM Progamme, operating for the first time within a professional football club, as well as your 'Get Into Construction Programme'.

IPSWICH Town non-executive chairman David Sheepshanks today gave a speech to welcome Prince Charles to Portman Road.

Here is the speech in full:

“Your Royal Highness, The Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriff, Mr Mayor, Ladies & Gentleman

“It gives us great pleasure to welcome you, Sir, to Portman Road to witness at first hand the very important work of our Community Trust and, in particular, your life changing Prince's Trust TEAM Progamme, operating for the first time within a professional football club, as well as your 'Get Into Construction Programme'.

“Here at Ipswich Town, we have always been proud of our reputation as a family club, operating at the very heart of the community and genuinely trying to use our privileged status to give something back.

“Following my family's induction to the Prince's Trust many moons ago, I have long been impressed by the most extraordinary changes in fortune that involvement in a Prince's Trust course can herald for young people, those that otherwise maybe stuck in a vacuum, in various states of depression, resignation, or even despair.

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“In 22 years of being involved in football, I have rarely been as moved as I was when, as Chairman of the Football League in 1998, I invited a young man from Manchester, a recent participant in one of your courses there, to address the 72 Club Chairman.

“They were, at the time, proving to be rather awkward and cantankerous over squabbles of television income distribution and yet, after listening to this newly inspired young man for 5 minutes and his life story of personal transformation, they were putty in my hands and all voted immediately to support the Prince's Trust going forward.

“We even got the vote through on television monies as well.

“Since that time, we have been proud to do our bit here at Ipswich Town Community Trust, providing tours, coaching and the occasional motivation talk for various locally based Prince's Trust cohorts.

“So, we were extremely enthusiastic when we were approached to become the first football club in this country to take on the role of actually being the 'delivery partner' for the Prince's Trust in this area.

“Starting in January 08 we have been able - both to more fully play our part - and to appreciate at first hand the quite fantastic metamorphic effect of the Prince's Trust TEAM Programme on these young people, some of whom you have already met today.

“Of course, they themselves are the heroes as are all those that help to make it happen and, if I may, I would like quickly to salute David Smith and Andrew Leeson and all the volunteers who run the courses, Terry Baxter, Sacha Brakenbury and the other staff, volunteers and trustees of our Community Trust, and your own very special staff of the Prince's Trust for their wise counsel and support.

“We would also like to applaud those many generous and valuable partners of this initiative, again, many of whom are represented here today - Professor Dave Muller and Suffolk New College, the Learning and Skills Team, AXA and Marks & Spencer and all those others I haven't time to mention.

“A heartfelt thank you to you all for your continued help and determination.

“We are now well into our third programme this year hearing these young people tell their stories never fails to move me, nor indeed entire audiences at the rather special and intimate graduation ceremonies.

“Your great friend, Nelson Mandela, once remarked famously of how 'sport can change the world and how it has the power to inspire in a way that little else does.'

“By bringing the Prince's Trust and Sport together in this way, Sir, you have launched a most powerful force for good, bringing life changing and most often life lasting self-esteem and self-belief to countless young people to achieve things that they would never have believed possible.

“The Prince's Trust proves that dreams can become reality by helping young people to learn how to remove the obstacles along the way.

“Sir, thank you very much for coming to honour everyone here with your presence today.

“Your vision and drive for the Prince's Trust continues to provide hope and inspiration for all who are fortunate enough to experience it.”