Yesterday, I was checking my Twitter feed and kept seeing photos from a gala that the SportsAid Twitter account was retweeting. That gala was in honor of SportsAid’s 40th anniversary/birthday which is today. I thought to myself that that gala would have been a great event for SportsAid’s Patron, The Duchess of Cambridge, to attend since it’s an easy one to show up for, get her picture taken, meet people, and leave. No hard work there. But alas, Kate skipped the event that she, as Patron, should have attended. I wondered if Kate would do anything at all for one of her patronage’s big milestones, since SportsAid has seemingly gotten the shaft for the last 17 months, and she has. She wrote a message congratulating them on their milestone.
The letter reads:
“In the last forty years, SportsAid has given a helping hand to talented young sports people across the United Kingdom. I have been fortunate enough to meet many current and former athletes who have benefitted from the charity’s support. It is always incredibly clear how the help and recognition these athletes receive at such a crucial, formative stage of their sporting lives gives them that all important boost they need to fulfil their potential.
“As Patron, I would like to wish SportsAid a very happy 40th birthday, and offer my best wishes to everyone who has played a part in their success. Thank you to those who have, and are, supporting SportsAid. Your efforts make a huge difference to thousands of young people and their families.
“Everyone involved in this great cause should be incredibly proud of the impact SportsAid has had on the success of British sport over the last four decades.”
I will give Kate (or Rebecca?) credit for this message. It exists, that’s a start. It is personal to SportsAid and their 40th birthday, it’s not some copy/paste job from past written messages, so that’s good. It really is. Kudos.
But I do want to call Kate out on the fact that the last time she publicly visited SportsAid was November 12, 2014 for a workshop. Just shy of a full 17 months ago. She attended the ICAP Charity Day in December 2015, part of the proceeds of which went to SportsAid (they received £150,000), but that’s not publicly visiting the actual charity.
Kate attended SportsAid’s annual SportsBall once, in 2013 the year she became their Patron, but has skipped the event the last two years.
What makes this actually sad is that the SportsAid Twitter account has a photo of Kate as their header image and her name as Patron in their description, and their article announcing tickets for the 2016 SportsBall includes a photo of Kate from 2013 and mentions the fact that “the SportsBall has grown in popularity year-on-year with Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, SportsAid’s Patron, attending in 2013”.
SportsAid is still proudly using Kate’s name but Kate won’t give them an hour for a public visit. It just makes me sad in a pathetic kind of way.
I know Kate is all about “children’s mental health” now, but… she can’t make even one visit to her patronages a year?
SportsAid was founded in 1976 as part of a plan from the UK’s first Sports Minister Denis Howell as the country’s major source of funding for most of its top athletes as they looked to compete against usually better-resourced overseas rivals. Some of the athletes SportsAid has helped over the years include: Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah, Tom Daley, Bradley Wiggins, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Chris Hoy, Steve Redgrave, and Ellie Simmonds. In 2016, SportsAid is supporting 1200 athletes, the vast majority are ages 12 to 18.
The photos used in this post are from the 2014 SportsAid workshop.
Photos: Nathan Gallagher/SportsAid / Clarence House Instagram/Twitter