Saturday, 14 February 2009

Prince Charles holds a reception for The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia

The Prince of Wales held a reception at Clarence House to recognise supporters of The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.

The service provides emergency and primary health care to people who live, work and travel in remote areas of Australia, using a fleet of 50 aircraft.

The Prince is the Patron of RFDS (Friends in the UK), a charity which has raised almost £3 million for the service.

Rolf Harris, Jason Donovan and Germaine Greer were among the guests at the reception.

The Prince of Wales spoke at the reception to express his sympathy for the victims of the "horrors" of the Australian bush fires.

The country's worst wildfire disaster has killed at least 181 people in the state of Victoria in the south east.

"Both my wife and I were so horrified along with so many other people in this country by the extent of the bush fires because I know every year Australia suffers from dreadful events, but this year somehow it's even more dreadful.

"We just wanted people to know how deeply we feel for all those families who have suffered so terribly.

"The sheer extent of the horrors is hard to comprehend I think to people who don't live in Australia or know Australia."

The Prince said for him "the tragedy is even worse" because he remembered the names of the areas affected from when he was at school in Australia in 1966.

He also praised the work done by firefighters and said he hoped the fires would stop soon.

"I don't quite know how to express enough sympathy, how much we feel for people. I pray that soon the situation will revert to something more manageable.

"All those emergency services and all the people who work so incredibly hard to try and deal with these sorts of crises deserve our gratitude and appreciation."

Entertainer Harris, 78, said: "It's just scary to contemplate. I can't imagine all the little kids being caught and killed in the fire, and the numbers are just overwhelming.

"It is as scary as anything to think of huge townships totally wiped out, gone."

No comments: