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David Oyelowo: 'The Prince's Trust helped me find a wife'

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE: One of Britain's most talented thespians said the Prince's Trust helped his career and meet his actress wife Jessica

ACTOR DAVID Oyelowo has given a warm thanks to Prince’s Trust as it marks its 35th birthday for not only launching his career but helping him find his future bride.

The BBC Spooks star developed his passion for the stage after winning a place at the National Youth Theatre but would not have been able to afford the fees without a grant from the charity in 1993.

While honing his craft he met and fell in love with wife Jessica and the couple now have three children together.

The 35-year-old who became the first black man to play a British King at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)said: "It was one thing to win a place, but paying for it was an entirely different matter. We weren’t poor, but there wasn’t enough money to pay for a luxury like going to the National Youth Theatre.

"Without the grant, I may not have become an actor. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be married. It was there I met my wife."

AMERICAN DREAM

The family is now based in LA but the north London boy said it was a pleasure to return to the UK and speak on behalf of the charity.

Oyelowo said: "The Prince’s Trust is such a valuable organisation that it’s an honour to be an ambassador for them at home and abroad. It played a valuable role in my life and I’m happy to sing its praises."

The award-winning actor has been tipped to play civil rights leader Martin Luther King in a movie from Precious director Lee Daniels, although the production is on hold.

It is roles like this reason, said the Rise of the Planet of the Apes , that inspired his move to the United States.

Oyelowo said: "It is true that there are more opportunities for black actors in the United States but that’s because there is a bigger audience.

"In Britain we don’t have a huge black middle class and America's history like the civil rights movement has given birth to huge icons like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. Those characters create roles you don’t have the opportunity to play in the UK."

CHANGING LIVES

But the Hollywood star was not the only who feel indebted to the trust for the lifelines it threw them often in their hours of need.

It helped pull 27-year-old Adrian Carter, of south London, out of a dark hole to start his own catering business when he was left paralysed following a motorcycle accident.

British sprinter Julian Golding won a string of gold medals for his country after the charity awarded him a grant to pay for his first athletics gear.

As he struggled with his mother’s death, 16-year-old Luke Boyland’s future looked bleak after he was kicked out of school. He’s now an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust and is starting a course in bricklaying.

So while the Royals are enjoying renewed popularity, thanks to its glamorous new addition in the form of the Duchess of Cambridge, the Prince’s Trust founded by Prince Charles is perhaps one of its greatest legacies.

On Friday, the charity celebrated 35 years of helping thousands of disadvantaged young people get into training, start new businesses or build up their self-esteem and confidence.

Speaking at Clarence House, His Royal Highness Prince Charles said: "Everybody has got some potential, skill or talent that can be brought out.

"I'm unbelievably proud of all those who show they really can do it. I hope I shall live long enough to see even more people make a fantastic success of their lives and give something back to this country."

SECOND CHANCE

Cheerful Adrian, of Nunhead, south London, said he was in a dark place as he came to terms with his disability including his arm being amputated.

Through the support of his family and mentoring from Prince’s Trust Adrian said it helped him to rediscover his zest for life.

Adrian set up Carter’s Home Cooking specialising in Caribbean cuisine, was encouraged to complete a business studies degree and now teaches cookery to young people at a community centre. In 2009, he won young entrepreneur of the year at the black business awards.

The businessman said: "I could have wallowed, but thanks to the support of my mentor, I started to realise how lucky I was to be alive. I am so passionate about food and encouraging young people to eat more healthily. Part of my message is also that if I can do it, anyone can. There will be hard times, but if there’s a second chance take it."

Adrian added: “It was really nice to meet the prince. My heart was beating, I was so nervous, but he has a very nice way about him. He asked me lots of questions about my business and he seemed to really care about the answers."

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