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IN PICTURES: Sophie, Countess of Wessex, tours new training centre and visits Earl Mountbatten Hospice

Sophie Wessex signs the visitors book at the new Centre of Excellence for Composites, Advances Manufacturing and Marine (CECAMM).

Sophie Wessex signs the visitors book at the new Centre of Excellence for Composites, Advances Manufacturing and Marine (CECAMM).

Richard Wright

[email protected]

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 8:52

SOPHIE, Countess of Wessex, officially opened the new £12 million Centre of Excellence for Composites, Advanced Manufacturing and Marine at Whippingham Technology Park, during a visit to the Isle of Wight yesterday (Wednesday).
The centre, next to GKN, was created with Solent Local Enterprise cash in partnership with Island industry and is being run by the Isle of Wight College.
The visit came on students' first day at the centre.
Dignitaries, prominent councillors and leaders of Island industry were among guests at the ceremony.
The countess paid tribute to the tenacity of partners behind a centre that would give young people world class skills.
The countess, who was presented with a bouquet by 11-year-old Hunnyhill Primary School pupil Carys Morgan, said CECAMM was a model that should be replicated throughout the country.
"I feel sure that people will be beating a path to your door," she said.
She also spent time at the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, in a visit that was full of laughter, cake, and even paint.
The countess met staff, participants of the day patients programme, and children involved in the hospice's bereavement service before unveiling a new plaque to mark the hospice's 35th anniversary.
The visit was held in the John Cheverton Centre, a building that provides space for group meetings, open coffee mornings, live music events and a cafe, all open to the public.
Marion Tusker, who runs the hospice's child bereavement service with a group of music and arts therapists, spoke about their work.
"We introduce the arts because it's a really good way for kids to come together and make something with a theme. Sometimes its memories about people they have lost.
"To be expected just to sit and talk is sometimes really difficult, so the art and music helps them to engage in what they're doing, talk to one another, and share experiences. On a practical level, the opportunity to draw is really helpful for children who can't express themselves verbally," said Marion.
Michael Dusgate, six, has benefited hugely from this service funded by KissyPuppy.
Michael's mother, Perdita Dusgate, said, "The art therapy here has been brilliant. He's been able to express feelings he previously struggled to voice, due to a few speech and language problems, through the art and music."
"The hospice is something that, until you need it, you don't realise what it is capable of doing for you. When you have to use them, you realise how invaluable they really are."
The hospice also provides a day patient programme that includes massages, pottery and reiki, the Japanese technique for stress reduction and healing - are just a few of the facilities available.
Brian Newman, an ex-nurse who is an active participant of the programme, branded the hospice as "one of the finest places" he'd ever been to.
Brian explained that before his first visit, he pictured the hospice as 'a lot of people, sat around, chewing their gums, waiting for God.'
"That was until I walked through that door. I thought I'd come to the wrong place because this was like a 5-star hotel. After my visit, I was hook, line, and sinker. It has got me out the house and interacting with people again," said Brian.
Head of communications, Emma Topping, said: "It's about a feeling of good will, happiness, and joyfulness. In short, it's about living life to the full."
Earlier in the day the countess visited the Island's oldest tourist attraction, Shanklin Chine.

(additional reporting by Imogen Tew)
Sophie Wessex

Sophie Wessex unveils the plaque at the new Centre of Excellence for Composites, Advances Manufacturing and Marine (CECAMM).

Sophie Wessex

Sophie Wessex signs the visitors book at the new Centre of Excellence for Composites, Advances Manufacturing and Marine (CECAMM).

Sophie Wessex

Sophie Wessex visiting the new CECAMM building. Left, David Evans greeting HRH Countess of Wessex.

Sophie Wessex

HRH Countess of Wessex receiving a bouquet from Brian Newman as she visits the Earl Mountbatten Hospice for its 35th Anniversary.

Sophie Wessex

HRH Countess of Wessex receiving a bouquet from Brian Newman during a visit to the Earl Mountbatten Hospice.

Sophie Wessex

HRH Countess of Wessex talking to Carys Lammers-Wood, ten, during a visit to the Earl Mountbatten Hospice.

Sophie Wessex

Harry Baxendale, five, talking to HRH Countess of Wessex.

sophie wessex

Sophie Wessex, HRH Countess of Wessex receiving a bouquet from Hunnyhill Primary student, Carys Morgan, ten.

Sophie Wessex

Sophie Wessex with Shanklin Chine owner Anne Springman.

Sophie Wessex

Sophie Wessex with Shanklin Chine owner Anne Springman.

Sophie Wessex

Sophie, Countess of Wessex with Shanklin Chine owner Anne Springman.

 


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