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Tunbridge Wells: Crossways Community enjoys royal visit from Sophie, Countess of Wessex

By Natalie Tipping

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, visited a mental health charity in Tunbridge Wells on Wednesday.

The Countess, who has a particular interest in psychological health, was shown around Moxham House, home to Crossways Community's 24/7 care home, and also enjoyed an art group at Culverdale, where a small garden had been planted in her honour.

Culverdale provides supported accommodation for more independent residents.

The Countess of Wessex meets the Crossways management team. Picture: David Bartholemew
The Countess of Wessex meets the Crossways management team. Picture: David Bartholemew

Founded in 1967, the Tunbridge Wells charity provides help and support to adults aged 18-65 with acute mental health issues.

Many residents stay for more than 20 years, given the long-term nature of their illness.

The Countess met some of the residents, Hope and Marie, who demonstrated how to list donated books for sale online, and others, Paul and Andrew, who were hard at work up-cycling chairs that will be sold on the charity's Facebook page.

And these chairs could be quite a collector's item, as the Countess had a go at hammering tacks herself.

The Countess speaks to Antonia, a resident. Picture: David Bartholemew
The Countess speaks to Antonia, a resident. Picture: David Bartholemew

Throughout her visit Sophie enjoyed chatting to residents, and was treated to a very lively rendition of With a Little Help from my Friends by the Crossways Singers and Music Group.

The Countess then unveiled a commemorative plaque in the Crossways gardens.

She 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."

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, with the plaque to commemorate her visit. Picture: David Bartholemew
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, with the plaque to commemorate her visit. Picture: David Bartholemew

Chris Munday, chief executive at Crossways, said: "We are delighted that the Countess of Wessex has been able to come and see what is going on here and to meet residents."

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