The Duchess of Cornwall has recorded a special 20th birthday message for Helston-founded disaster relief charity ShelterBox.

The video celebrates the 1.5 million people supported with emergency shelter and other essentials since 2000, and recognises the ‘heroic efforts’ of volunteers and staff to reach families after disaster during the coronavirus crisis.

In her video message, Duchess Camilla said: "Like so many other occasions this summer, we are celebrating this milestone rather differently, but as your proud president, it is a huge pleasure to be able to join you all even if in a virtual form!"

ShelterBox was founded in 2000, as a millennium project of the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard.

Since then, 1.5 million people in 97 countries have been supported with aid including tents, shelter kits, solar lights, cooking sets and water filters, often arriving in the charity’s distinctive green boxes.

As well as those events overlooked by news headlines, ShelterBox has responded to major disasters including Typhoon Haiyan (2013), the Nepal earthquake (2015), and Hurricanes Irma and Maria (2017).

Its longest running response – to families displaced by war in Syria – has helped more than 250,000 people.

Recognising the vital role emergency shelter now plays in controlling coronavirus worldwide, Camilla added: "I also want to draw attention to your extraordinary outreach all over the world this year in particular.

"Covid-19 is a new and deadly threat to families recovering from disaster, and, as always, you have risen to the challenge magnificently.

"You have adapted quickly to this unprecedented emergency, using 20 years of experience and expertise to move vital supplies across borders to people who are facing this devastating pandemic as refugees or having lost their homes to disaster."

Sanj Srikanthan, chief executive of ShelterBox, said: "We extend our warmest thanks to Her Royal Highness for her presidency since 2007, and for her particular interest and support during this global crisis. We look forward to updating her on our latest responses in person before long.

"Emergency shelter has never been more vital. Families who have lost their homes are living in crowded camps with little hope of social distancing.

"Without their own shelters to self-isolate, and household items to reduce sharing between families, coronavirus can spread like wildfire.

"It’s 20 years since one Rotary club in Cornwall created ShelterBox. They could not have known the challenges facing our world in 2020 – but they founded an organisation of action, ready to respond."