Princess Diana: Community pays tribute 20 years after her death

Princess Diana: Community pays tribute 20 years after her death

Norwood's chief executive reflects on a magical day in 1985 when the Princess of Wales made 'everyone feel special'

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Princess Diana
Princess Diana

Jewish community leaders have paid tribute to Princess Diana’s “indefatigable commitment to charity”, as the country marks the 20th anniversary of her death.

Norwood chief executive Elaine Kerr recalled how Diana “made everyone feel special” when she visited Norwood’s Ravenswood village in 1985.

Arriving in grand style, she touched down at the Berkshire site by helicopter to open a rose garden for residents.

Kerr said: “Everybody who was at Ravenswood on that day will remember Princess Diana’s visit. It was an example of her indefatigable commitment to charity causes, both at home and abroad.”

She added: “Her genuine warmth and interest in everyone she met made everyone feel special. The fact she stayed much longer than her official appointment meant a great deal to both staff and residents.

“Princess Diana made public engagements feel like a real pleasure, not a duty. Public figures like her are rare and the fact that people still talk about her and her visit so fondly, even 20 years after her passing, shows how much she touched everyone.”

Diana (left) meeting Ravenswood residents in 1985
Diana (left) meeting Ravenswood residents in 1985 (Photo credit: Norwood)

The Princess received a sculptured rose from a resident and former Norwood chair Ronnie Gottlieb. She also signed a book, recording the planting of the garden’s first rose to honour the birth of her youngest son, Prince Harry.

The Princess Diana News Blog quotes Hazel Kaye, chief executive of Jewish Blind & Disabled, praising the charity work of the former Royal.

She said: “One of the great things about Diana’s work, quite apart from the immediate benefit to the charities she supported, was that she really put the spotlight on charities. The impact she made was enormous, and her loss is still felt today by the charity sector.”

In 1990, Diana, and her former husband Prince Charles, were guests at the Jewish Welfare Board (JWB)’s 125th anniversary dinner at the Guildhall. Jewish Care was formed from a merger between JWB and Jewish Blind Society that year.

Diana’s death in a Paris car crash on 31 August 1997 shocked the globe and sparked unprecedented expressions of grief .

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