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Visit to Kent by HRH The Countess of Wessex,19th April, 2017

The Countess of Wessex receiving two thank you cards made by residents to celebrate her visit, pictured here with Antonia, Ray and Hope. (c) 2017 David Bartholemew.

The Countess of Wessex receiving two thank you cards made by residents to celebrate her visit, pictured here with Antonia, Ray and Hope. (c) 2017 David Bartholemew.

Crossways Community

The Countess of Wessex visited Crossways Community in Tunbridge Wells, on 19th April, to unveil a plaque commemorating her visit, and 50 years since the charity’s work in the field of mental health began. The Chief Executive of Crossways, Chris Munday, escorted the Countess around Culverdale House – where residents who require supported accommodation but not round the clock care are looked after – before crossing the road to Moxham House, the charity’s 24/7 care home. She then visited the adjacent facilities, Crossways Community Enterprises, where residents use their practical skills to sell donated items and upcycle furniture.

The Countess of Wessex with Crossways Community Managers celebrating the plaque unveiling recognising 50 years since the charity began. Left to right: Steve Howcroft, Chris Munday, The Countess of Wessex, Penny Rist and Ginny Swaffer. (c) 2017 David Bartholemew.

The Countess of Wessex with Crossways Community Managers celebrating the plaque unveiling recognising 50 years since the charity began. Left to right: Steve Howcroft, Chris Munday, The Countess of Wessex, Penny Rist and Ginny Swaffer. (c) 2017 David Bartholemew.

The Countess enjoyed interacting with staff and residents and joined the tea and cake party in the gardens, where she was presented with two cards made by the residents thanking her for the visit. Unveiling the commemorative plaque in the Crossways gardens, Her Royal Highness said: “It is a great pleasure to have visited you all today. I enjoyed hearing your stories and very much appreciated your openness. I’m so glad that you have found your way here, a place of real community where you can step forward and make progress in your individual ways.”

Medway Maritime Hospital

The Countess of Wessex went on to visit Medway Maritime Hospital and Abigail’s Footsteps, a specialist Maternity Bereavement Suite. David and Jo Ward founded Abigail’s Footsteps in memory of their little girl and were thanked by the Countess of Wessex for their valuable charity work. HRH unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit to the Suite which was praised in Medway NHS Foundation Trust’s latest Care Quality Commission report as “the gold standard in the provision of care for parents and families who experience a stillbirth.”Mr Ward said: “We are delighted and honoured that HRH the Countess of Wessex has visited Abigail’s Place.
“This is our first purpose-built bereavement suite where parents can spend precious time with their stillborn baby away from the cries of new-borns.
“It is now the template for maternity units across the country and we are already working with other trusts to help them to achieve the same high standards.”
Abigail’s Footsteps continues to campaign and fundraise nationally to help other NHS hospitals secure Maternity Bereavement Suites.

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