Memorial fund will back her causes

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The Independent Online
A memorial fund is to be set up in the name of Diana, Princess of Wales, to channel charitable donations to the causes that she championed during her lifetime.

Charities with which she was associated have been deluged with calls from people who wished to donate money as a mark of their respect and affection.

The announcement of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, by Buckingham Palace yesterday, is a response to that explosion of philanthropic sentiment. The fund will be coordinated and administered at Kensington Palace, which was her London home.

At the height of her charity work, the Princess was patron or president of 100 charities, acting as a high-profile magnet for donations. After her divorce and decision to retreat from the public spotlight, she severed links with all but six.

Buckingham Palace said yesterday that the details of how cash given to the memorial fund would be allocated had yet to be determined.

But the core charities with which Diana remained associated - the National Aids Trust, the Leprosy Mission, the English National Ballet, the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, the Royal Marsden cancer hospital and Centrepoint, for the young homeless - are likely to be among the main recipients of donations to the memorial fund.

Another cause for which she campaigned passionately, and which will probably benefit from the fund set up in her honour, is the British Red Cross's crusade against anti-personnel landmines.

The announcement was welcomed with enthusiasm by the charities for which she was still working at the time of her death. They said they had been planning to meet to coordinate their response to the flood of offers of money from the public.

Gavin Hart, a spokesman for the National Aids Trust, said: "After the terrible tragedy on Sunday, a lot of people felt there was a need for an enduring memorial that would sustain Diana's work on the wide range of issues in which she was involved.

"But it must be said that nothing will compensate for losing such an impressive ambassador for Aids causes around the world."

Victor Adebowale, director of Centrepoint, said the fund was a fitting way to remember a "remarkable human being who meant so much to us".

"It is obvious that the public wants to remember a princess they loved, in a way she would have approved of," he said. "The announcement has given us the direction that is needed."

Centrepoint is setting up its own fund for donations made in Diana's memory. The Leprosy Mission is considering giving her name to a centre under construction in India for the rehabilitation of leprosy victims.

An office was set up at Kensington Palace yesterday to handle donations to the memorial fund, but it will not become fully operational until after Diana's funeral.

The fund is to be administered by staff who worked in the Princess's private office at the palace. Other details, such as names of trustees, will not be decided until next week. "We are up and running in the sense that we are receiving cheques, but at the moment we are all working on the funeral," a spokeswoman said.

Buckingham Palace said people who wished to make donations should send cheques, made out to "The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund", to Kensington Palace, London W8 4PU.