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The Countess of Wessex visits the Isle of Wight

The Countess of Wessex made a whistlestop tour of the Isle of Wight on Wednesday where she visited a college, a hospice and a world-famous landmark.

To start her morning, Sophie visited the Isle of Wight’s most famous tourist attraction – Shanklin Chine.

The Countess made the visit to mark the geological attraction’s 200th Anniversary. While at the centre, she viewed an art exhibition celebrating two centuries of history and examined the PLUTO (pipeline under the sea) Exhibition.

Shanklin Chine is located in the town of Shanklin and is made up of a wooded coastal ravine containing waterfalls, and trees with footpaths and walkways allowing paid access for visitors.

Her second stop of the day was the town of Newport where she visited the Earl Mountbatten Hospice to celebrate its 35th anniversary.

At the hospice, Sophie met staff and volunteers who were joining in the birthday celebrations.

Earl Mountbatten is the Isle of Wight’s only hospice and provides expert medical, nursing and domiciliary end of life care and bereavement support.

The hospice was officially opened by The Duchess of Kent on 13 October 1982 and has since cared for thousands of Islanders and their families at the most challenging of times.

For her final stop, the Countess visited the Isle of Wight College, where she toured the Centre of Excellence for Composites, Advances Manufacturing and Marine (CECAMM) facility at Whippingham.

CECAMM is the Isle of Wight College’s new £12 million facility which offers specialised education and training on the island.

At the college, Sophie said: “It takes a lot of brave people to break the mould. It’s very rare for me to come on the first day. I’m really impressed. It feels completely polished already.

“Businesses on the Island stand to benefit from well-skilled well-motivated young people. If we could use the 3D printer to replicate this college right the way around this country, just this what we could do for the future of our young people.

I have a feeling there’ll be a lot of people beating a path to your door. Thank you very much for letting me do the honours.”

Meanwhile, the Earl of Wessex is currently undertaking a two-day visit to the city of Modena in Italy in the capacity as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation.

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