The 6th Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor, served in the Reserve Army for 40 years and knew, first hand, the high price that members of the Armed Forces can pay for serving the nation. He wanted to do something about it and ensure that seriously injured soldiers, sailors and airmen would feel looked after and get the best possible care.
The Duke had the idea of creating a new centre of excellence for clinical rehabilitation to ensure that the outstanding work of Headley Court (the existing Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre in Surrey) was able to continue in a new 21st Century bespoke facility.
Whilst this was where he started, the idea of doing something for the nation by sharing Defence’s expertise and facilities on the same site was put to him by the then Secretary of State for Defence – and he readily agreed. Hence, the idea of a Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) was born.
The Duke then initiated the Feasibility Study which paved the way for identifying the Stanford Hall Estate near Loughborough as the best location for the DNRC (more on the detail of the Feasibility Study and wider background can be read here
The Duke also personally led the fundraising campaign – primarily a major donor campaign to which he himself committed £70m.
The Duke died in August 2016. He saw the foundations go in and the DNRC begin to take shape but, sadly, will not be there to see the remarkable new Defence facility come to life this year.
‘I have witnessed the shocking injuries our young soldiers, sailors and airmen suffer on the battlefield and have seen first-hand the struggle they are facing when rebuilding their lives. I feel strongly that we owe those who have volunteered to fight for our country, alongside forces from other nations, the best possible care and rehabilitation when they return. It is this belief that inspired me to look into how this could best be achieved.’
– Gerald Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster
As the 6th Duke’s family continue to support his initiative, his idea and his contribution to making it happen will live on in the work that takes place at the DNRC and, most importantly, in the lives of the seriously injured people who benefit.
Listen to his son, Hugh, Duke of Westminster, speak about his feelings for the DNRC programme alongside others in this short film.