Sophie, who is Patron of the foundation, attended the Brensoncare Community Care Havant virtual meeting and was welcomed by Marianne Wanstall, Brendoncare’s Chief Executive.
“Being able to see each other and to chat is so important”
🎥 The Countess of Wessex, Patron, joined a virtual meeting of @Brendoncare’s Havant Social Club earlier this week.
Club member Pat told HRH how the club has been a lifeline for the group during lockdown. pic.twitter.com/HhRL8UbkWT
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) January 22, 2021
The members gave the Countess a special rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’. To keep up the celebrations, members and staff wore party hats and presented Sophie with a birthday cake for her to virtually ‘blow out the candles’.
The royal mother of two also took part in a quiz with the central theme of 1965, the year Sophie was born. Club member Margaret Selby was the winner of the quiz.
Speaking to members at the club, the Countess admitted the Coronavirus pandemic restrictions had been testing her ‘natural instincts’ but commented that being able to communicate with others via chat had proved to be ‘so important’.
Prince Edward’s wife commented: “We are naturally social creatures but this has been an extraordinary situation where we’re not allowed to be with each other.
“And that goes against our natural instincts so at least being able to see each other and to chat is so important.
“The Brendoncare clubs have always been such a wonderful lift fort people. We know it’s too easy for people to disappear behind closed doors and not see people from one week to the next.
“So I know how beneficial the clubs have been over many years.”
Speaking about The Countess, Pat Bickers, who is a club member, said: “It was lovely to see The Countess of Wessex on our virtual club meeting. At first we were a little nervous but she is so warm and friendly that our nerves soon disappeared.”
On the call, Pat discussed how she found Brendoncare after she lost her husband seven years ago. She described it as ‘a lifeline’ and said how warm her welcome to the group was.
Marianne Wanstall, Chief Executive of Brendoncare, said, “We were absolutely delighted to welcome Our Patron HRH The Countess of Wessex to our virtual club meeting. There was a lot of laughter, silliness and a few tears; it all brought everything to life and reflected the reality of our clubs and their importance in how everyone supports each other.
“We are so grateful for the time and support the Countess continues to give to Brendoncare.”
The Hampshire-based charity, runs care homes and social clubs in an effort to tackle social isolation across the county. Sophie has supported Brandoncare since 2003.
Members traditionally meet in person but have using the technology to stay in contact with each other since the first lockdown in March.