The Duchess of Cornwall's Christmas message: 'Remember those people who might be on their own at Christmas'

The Duchess of Cornwall with Esther Rantzen
The Duchess of Cornwall with Esther Rantzen Credit: Richard Martin-Roberts 

For the past few weeks, Telegraph readers have been busy donating generously to this year’s Christmas Charity Appeal, which is raising money for organisations that help people in times of crisis. 

Here, three leading supporters reveal why they champion our chosen charities. 

HRH the Duchess of Cornwall explains why the Silver Line provides such a vital service to lonely older people at Christmas. Patron of Leukaemia Care, Penny Mountbatten, tells us how the charity offers support and medical advice for blood cancer patients and their carers. And Welsh rugby legend Shane Williams explains how Wooden Spoon helps bring the joy of rugby to children living with disabilities.

Why I support The Silver Line

by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall

At this time of year, when many of us are putting the final touches to our Christmas plans, it is more important than ever to remember those people who may be on their own, not just at Christmas, but every day of the year. Most of us know what it is like to be lonely at some time or another, but for more and more elderly people loneliness is their daily routine. All too easily, the stoic older generation can become isolated through bereavement, illness, disability, or simply because they live far from their relatives. In today’s busy world, they do not want to be a burden to their friends and families, but days without any human contact can seem endless.

As the proud Patron of The Silver Line, I hope the readers of The Daily Telegraph will learn more about the work of this very special charity. It offers a free, confidential, helpline (0800 4 70 80 90) that is open every single day of the year. What is more, if callers want to be put in touch with a Silver Line Friend, they can have a regular weekly chat on the phone, getting to know each other and sharing news.

The helpline gets over 10,000 calls a week and demand is increasing. I’m delighted that in October this year, The Silver Line joined forces with Age UK in the fight to combat loneliness, and this will mean this relatively new charity can reach more people, recruit more volunteers and raise the donations on which they rely to keep the service going.

Many lonely and isolated people’s lives have been changed by this inspirational charity and, with your support, The Silver Line can continue to bring a little light into their otherwise dark days.

Finally, may I take this opportunity to wish all the readers of The Telegraph and their families a very Happy Christmas.

'Christmas can be an isolating time for people suffering from a devastating diagnosis'

by Penny Mountbatten

三级成人视频One of my happiest days this year was spent at the Telegraph’s Christmas Charity Appeal phone-in day. Getting the chance to speak to wonderful readers and play a small part in their generosity was so uplifting that I have vowed to come back next year.

I think perhaps one of the reasons why it was such a rewarding experience was that it is so rare these days that any of us pause to talk to a stranger, let alone over a thousand; I’m told a record number of you called the phone-in this year. Modern life is such that we all dash about constantly and are preoccupied with our own worries and problems. It’s wonderful that we can stay in touch with friends and family on the other side of the world with a click of a button, but I sometimes wonder if we are missing those moments of real human connection, those touchpoints that bolster us, particularly at Christmas and particularly in times of crisis.

This time of year can be terribly difficult if you or one of your loved ones is being treated for a serious illness like leukaemia. While others seem to be enjoying the festivities, Christmas can be an isolating time for people who will be spending much of it in and out of hospital. 

三级成人视频I know from speaking to people whom the charity has helped that it means an awful lot to talk to someone who understands. No one expects to be diagnosed with leukaemia, and for many people talking to someone who has also gone through it can be invaluable. As Hannah Mahoney, interviewed in the Telegraph last month, observed: “Strangers can help you to unlock so much mental strength”.

Penny Mountbatten, patron of Leukaemia Care Credit: Heathcliff O'Malley 

The charity also runs a brilliant buddy support service where people who have been diagnosed with a blood cancer can talk to someone who understands what they are going through.

It can be just as hard to be a carer. Leukaemia Care offers practical information, from carer’s allowances to their legal rights as an employee – but can also offer advice for dealing with the emotional toll of becoming a carer to a leukaemia patient.

Dave Richards spoke so movingly in the Telegraph earlier this month about how the charity had connected him with other carers and helped him feel less alone while supporting his wife Emma through a chronic myeloid leukaemia diagnosis. “I’d felt so helpless up to that point,” he said. “Apart from doing chores to help lighten the load, I’d felt there was nothing I could do to change her condition. I didn’t know if I was doing things right or doing them wrong, and I didn’t know what else I could be doing to help.

三级成人视频“Speaking to other carers and partners going through the same thing, people I could relate to, helped to reassure me that all I could do was to keep on carrying on doing what I was doing.”

With your support, we can reach more people suffering with leukaemia and their loved ones. We can also continue to raise awareness of this devastating illness in order to increase early diagnosis rates.

I want to thank you for all you have done so far to help, and may I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.

'Every child deserves the best start possible, but more than 800,000 in the UK have a disability, and more than a third are living in poverty'

by Shane Williams

U三级成人视频p and down the country, many of us will spend the next week or two surrounded by children – watching them enjoy Christmas, seeing them play with one another, and taking the chance to look back over how much they’ve grown over the past 12 months.

三级成人视频Every child deserves the best start possible, but for one reason or another, some face vast challenges growing up. Currently, more than 800,000 children have a disability in the UK, and more than a third are living in poverty. Wooden Spoon, a charity I’m proud to act as a patron for, recognises these difficulties and tackles them head-on.

Rugby player, Shane Williams Credit: Christopher Jones 

I三级成人视频 became involved in Wooden Spoon through my career in rugby, and the charity’s connection to that fantastic sport gives it its core values of passion, integrity, teamwork and fun. By funding life-changing projects in communities across Britain and Ireland, Wooden Spoon helps build medical treatment centres and sensory rooms, supports specialist playgrounds, and gives disadvantaged children opportunities they might never have had without a little extra care and attention.

I三级成人视频’ve seen Wooden Spoon’s work in action, helping children in Wales and England, and as a father to two children – as well as proud uncle to a niece with autism – the charity’s work means a huge amount to me. Being a patron has also taken me into some unusual situations. Earlier this year, I and a few other former professional rugby players succeeded in setting a world record for the highest seven-a-side rugby match ever played, almost 21,000 feet above sea level on Mount Everest.

Over almost two decades as a professional, I played in Grand Slam deciders and Lions test matches, but that was the hardest game of rugby I’ve ever played. Even marking out the pitch was lung-busting, but the thing that got us all through it was thinking of those children that desperately need our support. This Christmas, I hope the Telegraph readers can join me in helping them.

There are numerous ways you can make a difference through Wooden Spoon, including by donating, attending events, becoming a member or volunteering. By giving a little of your time, support or attention, you could be making a difficult young life that little bit easier. Thank you, and Nadolig Llawen to all.