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Prince William took to a video call from his Norfolk home, Anmer Hall, which he shared with his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge and three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. His thank you to emergency service workers comes after Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, took part in the digital Emergency Services Festival of Thanksgiving, also known as the 999 festival, on Friday.
Held on whichever Friday falls closest to September 9, the multi-faith festival helps commemorate the thousands of emergency workers who have died in the line of duty.
It had originally been scheduled to be hosted in Belfast Cathedral, but was cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 300 members of the NHS and emergency services have died after contracting coronavirus while on duty.
The future King spoke from his country home, Anmer Hall, as he addressed emergency responders.
The Duke said: “This year, more than ever, we have been repeatedly reminded of the sacrifices made by all those in the emergency responder community, as they worked tirelessly to protect us against COVID-19 and keep the country going in the most challenging circumstances.”
The Duke has had personal experience in the service, after working as a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance between 2015 and 2017.
He added: “Having had the privilege of working alongside emergency responders, I’ve always been struck by the remarkable can-do attitude, in the face of even the greatest emergencies.
“They showcase the very best that our country has to offer, and this is never more apparent than at times like these.”
William went on to talk about the significant impact the job has on frontline emergency workers.
He said: “Tragically, some will pay the ultimate price as a result of their efforts in the line of duty, while others will experience lasting effects on their physical health or mental well-being.
“We all have a responsibility to do what we can to support the community and to remember their efforts to keep us safe, as well as the many sacrifices made by both them and their families, which is why today’s service is so important.”
The Duke of Cambridge finished his video message by saying: “On behalf of my family, I want to thank you all.
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“Your hard work, your determination and your courage are tremendous sources of pride for your country and we will be forever grateful for all that you do.”
Tom Scholes-Fogg, Founder and CEO of the 999 Festival, was thrilled at the Duke’s address.
Mr Scholes-Fogg said: “Given events in our country and across the globe we simply could not let this year go by without honouring our 999 heroes.
“We are incredibly honoured that His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge, the First Ministers and Health Secretaries agreed to participate in this special online programme.”
The online festival included music from the Blue Light Choir to commemorate the special day.
Videos form the chairs of the Police, Fire and Ambulance Councils and the Director of Her Majesty’s Coastguard were also showcased.
A number of important people, including First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and First Minister for Wales Mark Drakeford, spoke at the service.
England’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, also spoke during the 999 festival.
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