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Countess of Wessex Attends Farewell Parade for Headley Court

The Countess of Wessex attended the Headley Court Farewell Parade on Friday in Dorking.

Sophie first participated in a service at St Martins Church, where she gave a reading. Following this, the servicemen and women from the Headley Court Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre marched in a parade down the main street as residents watched.

The Headley Court Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre will be replaced with a new facility in Loughborough set to open in late 2018.

Since the Second World War, Headley Court had been used as a rehabilitation centre for wounded British Armed Forces members. Prior to this, during the war, it was the headquarters of the VII Corps and the Canadian Corps.

Its rehabilitation centre includes hydrotherapy pools, gyms and prosthetic workshops. The staff numbers around 200 and includes specialist officers, nurses, physiotherapists, various therapists, social workers, and support staff.

In 2014, it was announced that Headley Court was closing, to be replaced by the Loughborough facility at Stanford Hall in Leicestershire. The Duke of Westminster was a chief fundraiser for the new facility.

“The new centre will build on the legacy of the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court and the significant support it has received from many forces charities including Help for Heroes, The Royal British Legion and SSAFA,” said Air Marshal Paul Evans, Surgeon General for the Ministry of Defence at the time.

The new facility will eventually treat civilians as well, whereas Headley Court only treated military patients.

Following the parade, Sophie met with a few servicemembers who’d marched.

“She just asked me my role in the unit,” Leading Naval Nurse Stacey Cain told Eagle Radio. “I explained that I volunteered to help out today and she gave me a pat on the back which was nice!”

“She’s just one of those people that you could just carry on talking to if given the time.”


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