Sophie, Countess of Wessex, showed her support for the welfare officers of the Armed Forces on Wednesday, as she visited Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS).
The St John and Red Cross Defence Medical Welfare Service, to give it its full title, is a Ministry of Defence organisation which works with the NHS and other charities to support service personnel when they are receiving treatment for various ailments and conditions, including emotional and mental health support. It has been deployed in every major conflict since 1943.
The Countess spent the afternoon at DMWS HQ, the event beginning with a short briefing on the organisation. They then met members of staff and talked to them about their roles. Trevor Edwards, Director of Operations took Sophie through the DMWS operational timeline, which shows how the service has been deployed since its inception.
Here, the Royal guest learnt about the variety of support that is offered to personnel and their families. She not only read about this, but spoke first hand with veterans who have been helped by the service, including Iraq veteran Simon Brown; this was done over afternoon tea, making for a relaxed atmosphere.
Sophie was presented with a posy of flowers and gifts for her children, Lady Louise and Viscount Severn, some jelly beans. Thoughtfully, DMWS gave the Countess one of their water bottles to use for her Palace to Palace bike ride.