Canadian charity surprised to be on royal gift list

Malcolm Dunderdale is used to dealing with the unexpected, but a call from St. James' Palace still floored him.

"It was such a surprise when I received a phone call from St. James' Palace over two weeks ago," Dunderdale, President of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary told the Star. "It was most unexpected."

Canadian coast guard auxiliary Last week, St. James' Palace released the list of charities William and Kate hope the public will make donations to in lieu of wedding presents. Twenty-six charities were chosen, all but three of them based in the UK. Donation recipients include the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, The New Zealand Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, The Venture Trust, Beatbullying and Earthwatch.

The inclusion of the Auxiliary is a major coup for the group, especially since no member of the royal family has been associated with the organization. But Dunderdale speculates the Prince's work as an RA Sea King rescue helicopter pilot might have had something to do with their selection. The Auxiliary Coast Guard also works with helicopters.

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary is comprised of 4,300 volunteer members across the country.  It was established in 1978 to assist the Coast Guard in search and rescue operations and educating the public through boating safety programs.

The charities picked by William and Kate are divided into childrens', community care, arts and sports, services personel support and conservation groups. 

"These causes are close to their hearts and reflect the experiences, passions and values of their lives so far," said a statement on the couple's official website.

There is no word on how the donations will be divided, or what sort of funds the Auxiliary Coast Guard can expect ("we are going to wait a while before we ask," Dunderdale said) but plans are already being made for whatever amount comes their way.

"I would like to use the funds on education boating safety programs for children in schools and the boating public," said Dunderdale. "I would like to give St. James' Palace the opportunity say how they would like to see it spent, but as many of the charities selected surround caring for children I think they would like our plan."


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