The Invictus Games have a powerful patron in Prince Harry and he has enlisted some A-list friends to add support to the new paralympic-type games for wounded warriors. The Invictus Games will see a congregation of over 400 wounded servicemen and women from all parts of the world gather to compete in London for four days this September. The events will conclude with a concert in the Olympic stadium. Earlier this month Prince Harry sent out his first ever tweet from the top of the BT tower to endorse the games.
The Prince has appeared in a video, rallying for people to join him in “cheering from the sidelines” as injured, sick and wounded veterans from the recent conflicts compete in all adaptive sports. “They have given so much,” says Harry, and “deserve our support.” Agreeing with the Prince, are celebrities from Daniel Craig to will.i.am. They appear, with other A-listers, in a promotional video, set to the words of the poem Invictus, by W.E.Henley. Stephen Fry, Joss Stone, Rod Stewart and Joanna Lumley all also feature in the video.
Craig, known to millions of movie goers as James Bond, urges viewers to consider the huge sacrifices made by the Armed Forces of all nations, and suggests it is now time to “give something back.” Will.i.am, who closes the clip with the words “I am Invictus” remarks on how sport can aid rehabilitation and recovery.
The Invictus poem, written in 1875, is a stirring incitement to find strength in the face of adversity. Its title is the Latin word for Unconquered. Promoting its message for our times are sporting stars like the gymnast Louis Smith, Lizzy Yarnold, boxer Ricky Hatton and Iwan Thomas. Survival expert Bear Grylls appears, as does pop star Example, TV icon Bruce Forsyth and actor Tom Hardy, last seen in The Dark Knight, who voices the line “I am the captain of my soul.” It is quite a stellar line-up.
The Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley, a long-term supporter of the Gurkha regiment, explains her commitment to the Invictus Games, by explaining it is very close to her heart. Primarily “support for further employment opportunities for veterans” is an outcome she hopes to see emerge.
The focus is on achievment, post-injury, and Prince Harry wants to see a “long-lasting impact” for those who have served. The games are sponsored by iconic British brands Jaguar and Land Rover, and have been developed in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence, Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.
Prince Harry was inspired after his trip to America to support the Warrior Games, to get involved with creating a similar event on a larger scale. He has also walked to the South Pole with wounded military personnel. The sports will include indoor rowing, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.
With the encouragement of these well-known A-list friends, Prince Harry will be hoping to see a big turn-out for the inaugural Invictus Games in London this September.
By Kate Henderson