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Countess of Wessex opens state-of-the-art centre

This morning, the Countess of Wessex was in Aylesbury to open the White Leaf Centre, a new state-of-the-art mental health centre.

The Countess was given a tour of the facility, and met with the patients and other people who were instrumental to its development. She then officially opened the new £42.8 million unit, which offers treatment to both in-patients and out-patients.

As previously reported by Royal Central, the Countess of Wessex also unveiled the four new inductees to the Stoke Mandeville Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognises the people who have made contributions to the furthering of British wheelchair sports. This year’s inductees were Leoffler OBE, Margaret Maughan, the Hon. Mark Vestey and David Weir CBE.

The Chairman of WheelPower, Kevan Baker, said: “We are delighted to welcome The Countess of Wessex to this special occasion at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. The Hall of Fame is an honour exclusively reserved for the top contributors to British wheelchair sport both past and present.”

“The latest additions to the Hall of Fame are all individuals that have dedicated much of their lives to wheelchair sport and their contribution has been invaluable and their names have become synomonous with Stoke Mandeville Stadium and the birthplace of the Paralympic movement.”

WheelPower is the national organisation for wheelchair sports in the United Kingdom. Based at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium, it aims at improving the lives of people with physical disabilities through sport. WheelPower was started when Dr Guttman, a leading German neurologist, used sport as an essential rehabilitation program with his patients. He founded the National Spinal Injuries Centre in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, and in 1948, the first ever wheelchair games were held in the nearby stadium. The Centre hosted the Paralympic Games in 1984, with 1,200 athletes taking part. The Hall of Fame was created by WheelPower in 2003.

This was Sophie’s first visit to Stoke Mandeville Stadium. She was shown around by WheelPower’s chief executive, Martin McElhatton, who showed her where patients with spinal injuries played spirited games of Wheelchair Rugby and Table Tennis. The Countess herself joined in the games, and tried her hand at some archery.

Photo credit: first direct via photopin cc

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