It was a case of the ‘Royal Seal of Approval’ from The Countess of Wessex this week as she paid a visit to Northern Ireland. Her Royal Highness was in Belfast to commemorate the opening of the new £13 million Northern Ireland Hospice building in the north of the city.
The building is the charity’s dementia-friendly facility and provides palliative care to those in the community as well as across entire Northern Ireland.
Since their first Hospice Nurse began work in 1983, Northern Ireland Hospice has grown immensely and now delivers palliative care to over 3,500 patients each year as well as being one of Northern Ireland’s leading charities.
The Countess of Wessex was all smiles as she toured the new hospice during her visit on Tuesday. Her Royal Highness also took the opportunity to meet clinical and corporate staff as well as volunteers at the hospice. Sophie also found time to chat with a patient at the hospice – Mrs Andrea Murtagh – as well as meeting her husband.
The new building comprises 18 private en-suite bedrooms, private gardens, rehabilitation suites, a community nursing hub and a dedicated Education and Research centre.
As is the tradition with royal openings, The Countess of Wessex concluded her visit to the Northern Ireland Hospice by unveiling a commemorative plaque.
It wasn’t just the Northern Ireland Hospice who were treated to a visit by Sophie this week. Whilst in Northern Ireland, Her Royal Highness also found time to visit a number of other charities. The Countess of Wessex paid a visit to Mencap’s Children’s Centre, which provides support for very young children with learning disabilities.
Laganside Courts were also on the agenda for The Countess of Wessex as she stopped by the NSPCC’s Young Witness Service. The service is unique to Northern Ireland and provides support every year to children under the age of 18 who have to go through the sometimes harrowing experience of giving evidence in court.
While at the Young Witness Service, Sophie even managed to squeeze into her tight schedule a meeting with Connie, the NSPCC’s court assistance dog as well as many volunteers.
Photo Credits: Northern Ireland Office