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In pictures: Countess of Wessex launches the Thames Hospice Sanctuary

In pictures: Countess of Wessex launches the Thames Hospice Sanctuary

Francis Batt

In pictures: Countess of Wessex launches the Thames Hospice Sanctuary

Sophie, Countess of Wessex joined religious leaders to launch a spiritual sanctuary at a Windsor hospice.

The royal opening of the new £700,000 sanctuary at Thames Hospice in Hatch Lane took place yesterday, attended by leaders of the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu faiths from across Slough, South Bucks and the Royal Borough.

The Countess watched as they spoke in unison, delivering a prayer for the new facility.

Moments later she cut the ribbon covering the plaque outside The Sanctuary.

The Countess said: "The Queen was right when she said it was a good idea on her last visit here. It will be a place where people and their families will find peace and solace.

"It is wonderful that so many faiths are represented today - cancer knows no boundaries."

Wearing a grey suit and salmon coloured shoes, the Countess, who visited the hospice previously in 2009, arrived at 2pm to be greeted by former High Sheriff of Berkshire Lady Catherine Stevenson.

She met hospice chief executive Jacqueline Clark and members of her team, before talking to patients and their families privately inside.

Ms Clark said: "She met four patients and their families and was very knowledgeable about health care. It was absolutely wonderful to have her back here visiting us again."

After unveiling the sanctuary the Countess was presented with a bouquet by palliative consultant Doctor Cecily Wright. She stayed for three quarters of an hour at the hospice, meeting and chatting with staff.

Amy Danbrowsky, marketing officer at the hospice said: "She was interested in everything here and left everyone feeling happy."

The new sanctuary adjoins the main hospice at Pine Lodge .It is designed to be a multi-denominational space for spiritual reflection and features sensory mood sounds, music and lighting.

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