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Video/Gallery: Countess of Wessex offically opens Ipswich Hospital heart centre during day of visits to organisations in town

PUBLISHED: 09:37 19 March 2014 | UPDATED: 17:56 19 March 2014

The Countess of Wessex officially opens the new Heart Centre at Ipswich Hospital. 
Pictured with Ward sister Pippa Wilson and nurses from the centre

The Countess of Wessex officially opens the new Heart Centre at Ipswich Hospital. Pictured with Ward sister Pippa Wilson and nurses from the centre

Ipswich Hospital’s state-of-the-art heart centre has been given the royal seal of approval by Her Royal Highness, The Countess of Wessex.

Sophie Wessex visited the unit, which the Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times supported and helped fundraise for, this morning to officially open it and meet dignitaries, heart specialists, nurses and patients.

The heart centre was funded by Department of Health money after The Star’s three-year Have a Heart campaign supported Heartbeat East Suffolk and Ipswich MP Ben Gummer to secure elective heart services at Ipswich Hospital.

Readers helped raise more than £30,00 to help furnish the unit and make it a more comfortable environment for patients.

Speaking before unveiling a plaque, Her Royal Highness said: “Congratulations to all of you.

“What an impressive department you have and I have no doubt that the many patients who will be undergoing procedures here will be hugely and eternally grateful.

“The attention to detail with mood lighting and music says it all.”

The Countess is also due to visit Genesis Orwell Mencap, which supports people with disabilities, where she will see some of the artwork created by users of the service and enjoy a drumming performance.

Genesis chief executive, Nino Serritiello, said: “We are honoured and excited that the Countess has chosen to visit Genesis.

“Everyone is looking forward to displaying all the great work we do here and we hope the Countess will enjoy her time with us.”

The Countess’s final visit today will be to Headway, which supports people who have suffered brain injuries.

She will be treated to a performance of the Wizard of Oz, then spend some time with the charity’s cooking group and exercise group.

She will also find out more about the Brainy dogs initiative, which sees prisoners train Blue Cross dogs to become companion dogs to people with a neurological condition.

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