Our Chief Executive thanks Prince Philip for his commitment as Patron 4 May 2017 Category: About BHF Our Chief Executive has today paid tribute to HRH the Duke of Edinburgh for more than 55 years of support as our Patron, following the announcement he will retire from public duties. Prince Philip has served as the Patron of the British Heart Foundation since our founding in 1961. The Prince has played a valued role in the success of the BHF, helping to raise vital funds in support of our world-leading research into heart disease. Simon Gillespie, our Chief Executive, said: “On behalf of everyone at the British Heart Foundation, I would like to pay tribute to Prince Philip and offer our heartfelt thanks for his unwavering support as our Patron of more than 50 years. “His work as Patron over the years has helped us to shine a light on the devastating impact of heart disease and the importance of our life saving heart research. “We wish Prince Philip well for a much-deserved retirement from public engagements and we look forward to his continued support in the future.” More than 50 years of service The Duke of Edinburgh was invited to become our Patron in the early 1960s by Sir Horace Evans, who was Head of the Queen’s Medical Household. Prince Philip played a valuable role in helping organise high profile fundraising events in support of our life saving research and, in May 1972, Her Majesty The Queen attended a gala variety performance that raised money for our vital work. The Duke of Edinburgh also supported the creation of nine BHF-funded centres of excellence in the 1970s, which saw Professional Chairs of Cardiology set up in cities across the UK. It helped establish the BHF as the largest single funder of cardiovascular research in the UK and paved the way for many breakthroughs that have improved the lives of millions of heart patients. More recently Prince Philip attended our Annual Summit in 2015, thanking 250 of our supporters and volunteers for their tireless work. And in March of this year the Prince hosted an event at St James’ Palace to celebrate his 55 years as Parton.