Count­ess Sophie wows with visit

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - RHI­AN­NON MCDOWALL

SOPHIE, Count­ess of Wes­sex, paid a fly­ing visit to Mac­cles­field as part of her work as a char­ity pa­tron.

The Royal was in town to visit the David Lewis Cen­tre, a char­ity which pro­vides care and ed­u­ca­tion for adults with dis­abil­i­ties.

She met users and staff at the char­ity’s Com­mu­nity Day Ser­vices, based in two units on Fence Av­enue, where she was pre­sented with a hand made bench for her gar­den at Bagshot Park in Sur­rey.

Among those keen to greet Sophie was Bolling­ton res­i­dent Alex Steel, who has al­ready met Sophie’s hus­band Prince Ed­ward.

Alex’s dad, Dun­can Steel, said: “Alex met Prince Ed­ward in New Zealand when he did his Duke of Ed­in­burgh seven years ago, so it was great that he was able to show his pic­ture to Sophie.”

He added: “Alex is non­ver­bal, has autism and ma­jor learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, but the work­shops are really good for him.

“It means it gets him out of the house and do­ing some­thing con­struc­tive. It’s a great ser­vice and he really ben­e­fits from it. The great thing about the work­shops is that it fo­cuses on their abil­i­ties, not their dis­abil­i­ties.”

An­thony Wa­ters, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the David Lewis Cen­tre, said they were hon­oured to wel­come the Count­ess.

He said: “[The count­ess’s] vis­its are al­ways a high­light for both ser­vice users and staff. Yes­ter­day was no ex­cep­tion with HRH en­thu­si­as­ti­cally en­gag­ing with ser­vice users and show­ing a great in­ter­est in the work they do. It is al­ways a plea­sure to host HRH at David Lewis and we look for­ward to wel­com­ing her back in the near fu­ture.”

Sophie vis­ited Unit 1, which is home to the dig­i­tal de­sign and pro­duc­tion team, and Unit 9, a work­shop for craft based work ex­pe­ri­ence, and was also pre­sented with printed coast­ers made for the oc­ca­sion.

She ar­rived in town by he­li­copter which landed at the King’s School’s Ju­nior Divi­sion site on Fence Av­enue, and was greed by Cheshire East Mayor Coun Arthur Mo­ran and May­oress Ca­role Thomas, King’s deputy head Toby Seth, and 11-year-old stu­dents Wil­liam Bar­rett and Jenny Wal­lace.

Jenny, from Rush­ton Spencer, said: “I was a lit­tle ner­vous to start off with but the Count­ess made me feel very com­fort­able.

“I will re­mem­ber this day for the rest of my life, see­ing the Count­ess and get­ting to talk to her and watch­ing the gi­ant he­li­copter fly in over Mac­cles­field and land just yards from us.”

The Count­ess with mem­bers of Unit 9, which is a work­shop pro­vid­ing craft based ex­pe­ri­ences

Count­ess Sophie with Grace Stock­dale dur­ing her visit to the David Lewis Cen­tre

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