The Duke of Sussex has issued a rallying call to UK volunteers praising their response as a “wonderfully British thing” as he urged more military veterans to step forward and offer their skills during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking from Los Angeles, where he and wife Meghan were recently spotted making volunteer food deliveries, Prince Harry said the UK was showing “the very best of the human spirit”.
Referring to Guardian coverage, he said: “Up and down the UK, from Dorset up to Staffordshire, there are hundreds of thousands of people volunteering.
“I was just reading a Guardian article about the impact this is making, where some people are putting their names forward and are getting upset that they are not being used because there are so many volunteers. It’s such a wonderfully British thing, that we all come to help when we are needed.”
Paying tribute to Capt Tom Moore, the 99-year-old second world war veteran who has raised £23m as of Saturday for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden, Harry added to his brother William’s praise and said: “What he’s done is utterly amazing. It’s not just what he’s done, it’s the reaction people have had. Again, wonderfully British.”
Harry’s comments were made in an interview with Declassified, a podcast series which “documents amazing stories from members of the military community”.
Harry, who served 10 years with the military, highlighted the work of Team Rubicon UK, an international rapid disaster response charity, now redeploying veterans to support the NHS at home.
He worked with Team Rubicon UK in Nepal following the devastating 2015 earthquake, and said veterans had unique skills of huge value to offer as part of the Covid-19 response.
Addressing anyone who had served, no matter for what length of time, “you represent something, you represent community, you represent a certain set of values,” he told interviewer and Declassified’s founder Michael Coates, a former firefighter and soldier.
Harry said he was “honoured” to be a veteran himself, and “incredibly proud to see what these individuals up and down the country and across the world are doing on a day-to-day basis”.
Team Rubicon UK is working with the Charity and Community Sector Emergency Partnership, the British army and UK government emergency logistics, and helping strategic coordination of the volunteer response to Covid-19.
Richard Sharp, CEO of Team Rubicon UK, told Harry its main effort now was supporting the NHS. “I don’t think anybody was planning for a pandemic on this scale in the UK. So two weeks ago we had to make a very quick pivot. It became so apparent that our people could add huge value here at home,” he said.
“We made a call for veterans. We’ve had 3,000 already, and they are rolling their sleeves up for the most difficult tasks, the thick end of the stick.”
Veterans can get details of tasks in their region at www.teamrubiconuk.org.