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The Countess of Wessex opens cardiac unit whose funds were raised by Wessex Heartbeat

January 28, 2015
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The Countess of Wessex opened a new cardiac arrest unit on Wednesday, specially designed for younger patients. The money for the unit was raised by Wessex Heartbeat, of which Sophie is the Royal Patron.

Sophie met with patients and family members at the new ward in Southampton, where she also unveiled a plaque.

The unit cost £500,000 and will help young patients who suffer from lifelong heart conditions, providing better surroundings for patients and families.

sophie 4 © Photo: Rex

Sophie smiles despite the weather

At the Southampton unit, Wessex Heartbeat helps support 20,000 patients annually, including 1,000 babies and children born with congenital heart defects. This new ward will focus on 16 to 30-year-olds who are receiving treatment. It features a kitchen, a communal area, and a quiet room.

Sophie's royal seal of approval comes just over a week after the Countess celebrated her 50th birthday, for which she unveiled a new official portrait.

Dressed in an elegant white blouse, mother-of-two Sophie appears effortlessly poised in the shot, which was taken in London.

sophie © Photo: Rex

Sophie met with nurses, patients, and family members

She later marked the day by carrying out two public engagements with her husband Prince Edward, attending the engagements in support of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Trust and charity Tomorrow's People.

The Countess was greeted by royal fans and well-wishers as she arrived at the Tomorrow's People Social Enterprises , where the Countess was then presented with a birthday cake by a former Tomorrow's People client who now works at a local bakery and flowers from the charity's flower stall.

After their visit the royal couple proceeded to The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to see demonstrations of the Avoidable Blindness Programme of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.

sophie 2 © Photo: Rex

The Countess wore a stylish of-white coat with a cowl neckline

Sophie received scores of birthday messages on Twitter to commemorate her milestone celebrations, both from the charities that she is a patron of and British Monarchy, who shared an adorable picture of the Countess as a youngster alongside a recent official portrait.

"Wishing a very happy birthday to Sophie, Countess of Wessex who turns 50 today #HappyBirthdayHRH" they tweeted.

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