The Countess of Wessex celebrates 70 years of Mencap


The Countess of Wessex, Patron of Mencap, hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the charity's 70th anniversary.

Mencap is the UK's leading learning disability charity that works with people with learning disabilities and their families and carers.  

During the reception The Countess met a number of people who have benefitted from the many services that Mencap provide, including Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley and her sister Frances.

Mencap's mission is to transform society's attitudes to learning disability. It was founded by Judy Fryd, who in November 1946 wrote a letter to Nursery World magazine highlighting how poorly her daughter Felicity, who had a learning disability, had been treated by her local school.

Her Royal Highness met Judy's daughters, Linda and Pat and heard how they continuing their mother and sister's legacy.

During the reception The Countess heard a number of inspiring stories, of how Mencap has helped transform lives. Charlotte Aspley, who has Mosaic Down syndrome, took part in Mencap's shine project, which enabled her to find permanent work.

This year Charlotte ran the London Marathon and raised £7,500 for the charity. Read more about Charlotte's story here.

Mencap has a long Royal history, in 1963 Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother opened Mencap's new hostel and training workshop in Slough. Which at the time was the first training centre of its kinds for adults with a learning disability.

The Queen Mother then became Patron in 1986, a role she held until her death in 2002. The Countess of Wessex took on the role as Patron in 2004.

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