On Tuesday, The Countess of Wessex carried out a number of engagements in Staffordshire. She opened a new resource centre for Action For Blind People in Hanley. She also met with the North Staffordshire Asperger Autism Association at Keele University. Lastly, she visited the Royal Stoke University Hospital where she was given a tour of the facilities; she met with staff families and patients. She also unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit there.
The highlight of her visit, especially for one sick child was the opportunity to hand the Countess a bouquet of flowers.
12-year-old Ateeqa Sajed from Shelton has been sick for eight years and been a patient at the hospital for just as long. She suffers from a muscle and skin disease called dermatomyositis. This disease affects only 1 out of every 100,000 people.
After meeting The Countess, Ateeqa told the Stokes Sentinel: “I have been really happy since I found out I was going to be greeting the Royal visitor and it felt really nice.
“She liked my henna and bracelets and said that they were pretty.
“I am really proud of myself and happy that I was chosen to meet her.”
Her father, Mohammed Sajed, (46), of Cauldon Road looked on as his daughter handed over the posy. He told the Stokes Sentinel: “We got the call on Tuesday to say that Ateeqa had been chosen and she has been excited since then. It has given her a real lift.
“She has been so excited running around choosing her outfit and preparing for this to make sure everything is right.
“It has been a tough eight years for us and it has had real ups and downs for the family, so this has been a real high point for us.
“It has been an honour for us to be chosen for this and for my daughter to hand over the flowers that is something that will always stick with her.”
After touring the facilities and meeting staff and patients, the Countess had lunch with trust award winners at the hospital before unveiling the plaque.
Christina Hall, a consultant colorectal surgeon was one of the award winners. She said: “It was fantastic to speak to her and have lunch.
“We spoke a bit about the hospital but also about her children, seeing shows in London and life in Kensington.
“She was really easy to talk to and the conversation didn’t dry up at all.”
Trust chairman John MacDonald, said: “We were delighted to invite HRH The Countess of Wessex to Royal Stoke University Hospital to see to meet some of the families that we support. The visit will provide us with an opportunity to raise awareness about the work of the hospital and to showcase some of the highly specialist work that we do.”