HRH Countess of Wessex visits St Paul’s Hostel

ROYALTY visited Worcester yesterday when Her Royal Highness, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex officially opened the new Breast Cancer Haven at Worcestershire Royal.

The Countess, who arrived by helicopter just after midday, spent the afternoon touring the state-of-the-art breast unit, meeting with guests before unveiling a commemorative plaque.

Speaking on the new unit, its brainchild, consultant breast surgeon Steven Thrush said: “When I first set out out the service was not what it should be and what we tried to achieve, and what we have achieved, is a service that offers comfort through a difficult time.”

Kate Butler, 41 and Susie Coleman, 39, who are former patients of the unit and raised £100,000 towards the cause, spoke to the Countess during her tour.

Ms Butler described her afterwards as “lovely” and “really down to earth.”

The Breast Cancer Haven service, which operates one day a week from the unit, consists of free support to help relieve the physical and emotional side effects of a breast cancer diagnosis.

Speaking at the unveiling, the Countess, who is the President of Breast Cancer Haven’s guardian programme, said: “It (the unit) really just helps any individual feel more confident about where they are and what has happened and hopefully means that what is otherwise not a great experience, as best as one can get.

“For us as a small charity, we wish that we had all the money in the world to create a Haven in every town and city in the country, sadly we can’t do that but for us to become more agile and to be actually provide this service here, is really a dream for us.”

Following a successful appeal, the £1.8m unit, which opened in March 2016, offering a comprehensive service under one roof for women and men across the county for all breast related issues.

Genevieve Thrush, the daughter of Steven Thrush, gave the Countess a bouquet of flowers just before her departure.

She then visited St Paul’s Hostel in Tallow Hill where she listened to poetry readings, learnt more about the work it carries out to help those who have experienced trauma and how the organisation supports people through homelessness.

St Paul’s Hostel is celebrating its 40th year.