6 JULY 2005

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The Countess of Wessex's work on behalf of the Brownies took a distinctly green-fingered turn on Wednesday. Sophie, who is president of Girlguiding UK, went along to Hampton Court Palace Flower Show to see an inspirational garden built by members of the organisation.

Appropriately dressed in a floral skirt and red jacket, the royal visitor took a keen interest in the "Girlguiding Scrapheap Challenge". A group of young ladies from St Albans were tasked with building the garden with only cast-off materials at their disposal.

These included a discarded tent canvas, along with old bottles, cans and the tyres of a wrecked Mini-Cooper. Te resourceful youngsters even put an old tractor tyre to good use, using it to house the distinctive yellow Brownie Rose - the centrepiece of the design.

Admiring their accomplishments, Sophie, who has been President of the Girl Guides since 2002, must be equally gratified that the youth group's popularity is soaring. "As a growing organisation, Girlguiding UK is a victim of its own success with over 50,000 girls waiting to join," revealed chief executive Denise King.

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The Countess has been president of the Girl Guides since 2002
Photo: Alphapress.com
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The royal guest was presented with a basket of yellow "Brownie Roses"
Photo: Alphapress.com