The Countess of Wessex has joked that she might qualify for a place in the Journalists’ Charity’s new £4m care home in Dorking.
After her tour of the complex – Pickering House and Harmsworth House – she said: ‘Having found myself featured in the newspapers from time to time, perhaps I could qualify for a place here. It is truly a magnificent new care home.”
More than 150 guests gathered for lunch and to watch the Countess as she unveiled a plaque to commemorate the official opening. She was presented with a bouquet by 95-year old Gwen Thompson, the widow of a Daily Mirror journalist and the home’s oldest resident.
Charity chairman Robert Warren said:?’I am so glad that the Countess has been able to come here today to mark the opening – renewing our royal blessing.
‘The Queen is our patron and the Queen Mother opened the original care home in Dorking in 1969, so we have every right to call ourselves ‘Her Majesty’s Press’.”
Warren spoke of the work that the charity does, helping journalists and dependents in need – at a cost of more than £250,000 a year.
‘As the population, even of journalists, lives longer and their pensions shrink, they need more help and, increasingly, they will come to us,’he said. He thanked the Guardian Media Group for what he said was a ‘substantial donation”, and appealed to members and friends of the charity to give serious consideration to what help they could give.