The Countess of Wessex celebrates 30 years of ChildLine’s service.

Today, The Countess of Wessex as Grand President of St. John Ambulance in the Priory of England and the Islands, attended the County Presidents’ Day at Chapter Hall, St John’s Gate, St. John’s Lane in London EC1. There won’t be pictures of this event.

In the evening, HRH as Patron of ChildLine and President of National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, held a Thirtieth Anniversary Reception for ChildLine at Buckingham Palace. HRH supported ChildLine for many years, and became their first Patron in 2005. For my post on HRH’s Patronage click here.
© Casey Gutteridge/CPG Photography – picture posted with kind permission from photographer

ChildLine is the 24-hour counselling service that deals with any issue which causes distress or concern, common issues dealt with include child abuse, bullying, mental illness, parental separation or divorce, pregnancy and substance misuse. It was launched with the help of Esther Rantzen (TV presenter & journalist) in 1986, who herself experienced an abuse at the hands of a close family friend when she was younger. Despite the pain this caused, it did not motivate her to start the charity. Instead, Esther had read a report about a toddler who had been murdered by those that had been entrusted with her care.

After Wikipedia: Esther Rantzen had suggested the Childwatch programme to BBC One Controller Michael Grade after the death of a toddler who had starved to death, locked in a bedroom. The aim of the programme was to find better ways of detecting children at risk of abuse and to that end, viewers of That’s Life! who had themselves experienced cruelty as children were asked to take part in a survey detailing the circumstances of their abuse.

Rantzen suggested that after that edition of That’s Life!, the BBC should open a helpline for children, in case any young viewers suffering current abuse wished to ring in to ask for help. The helpline was open for 48 hours, during which it was swamped with calls, mainly from children suffering sexual abuse they had never been able to disclose to anyone else. This gave Rantzen the idea for a specific helpline for children in distress or danger, to be open 24/7 throughout the year, the first of its kind in the world. The Childwatch team consulted child care professionals, who agreed that children would use such a helpline but that it would be impossible to create. Nevertheless, the team obtained funding from the Department of Health and the Variety Club of Great Britain, both of which donated £25,000. Ian Skipper OBE, a noted philanthropist who had already helped Rantzen set up a special fund in memory of Ben Hardwick, agreed to underwrite the helpline’s running costs for the first year. Rantzen and the team went to BT to ask for premises for the charity and for a simple freephone number, both of which were provided.

The Childwatch programme screened on 30th October 1986, based on the results of the survey, launched ChildLine with a specially written jingle (by B. A. Robertson) which featured the free phone number 0800 1111. On that first night in October 1986, fifty thousand attempted calls were made to the helpline. ChildLine now has twelve bases around the UK, including two in Northern Ireland, two in Scotland and two in Wales. In 2006 ChildLine merged with the NSPCC, enabling it to expand in an effort to meet demand. The helpline has now been copied in 150 countries around the world.

For full article click here.

Here’s video that was made to celebrate ChildLine’s 30th Anniversary. It explains in detail how crucial its work is, and still very much needed these days. In Esther’s words: “The dramatic growth of the online world means that the way children contact us is changing too. Now thousands of children reach ChildLine online, by email and 1-2-1 chat. That is a huge challenge for us. The problem is, when every question and answer has to be typed, it takes ten times longer to counsel a child online“.
© Casey Gutteridge/CPG Photography – picture posted with kind permission from photographer

We need to answer every child. That requires more volunteers and more investment so we can grow to meet the demand. Most importantly that requires your support. So, as we celebrate thirty years of ChildLine’s vital work, please help us protect children from pain and save precious young lives.”

For more info on ChildLine’s 30 years of work, visit this link. If you would like to help, this link will show how can you do so.

During reception, HRH has met Natalie Dormer star of Game of Thrones, you can also remember her from The Tudors. Natalie will be running in London marathon in aid of ChildLine in April 2016. You can find out more here.

There are few videos up on Getty. I believe those were made for another TV documentary celebrating HM’s 90th birthday. To view them, click here.

Outfit & jewellery:
Dress by Dior, not sure if it’s bespoke. 
UFO earrings, new version of back to front pearls (or Tribal earrings -original design by Dior). I am not sure of the brand, however those are not by Heavenly Necklaces. 
LK Bennett Harley pumps in black suede.   
Watch by Longines, I believe from “Le Grande Classic” collection. 

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