The Countess of Wessex presents the British Empire Medal to the youngest recipient during a visit to her school

The Countess of Wessex was visiting schools in Sheffield this Thursday, November 3, 2022. The sister-in-law of King Charles III took advantage of her presence to decorate one of the deserving students. The young Tobias Weller had been decorated by Queen Elizabeth II a few months ago but had not yet received his medal. The boy, who has autism and cerebral palsy, received the British Empire Medal.


Sophie of Wessex visiting a school in Sheffield

Sophie of Wessex was visiting Sheffield, in central England, on Thursday. The Countess of Wessex officially opened a new education and skills center at David Lewis School. The new facilities and spaces are now surrounded by a nature reserve.

The school, located in Cheshire, offers a range of educational, residential and medical services to support adults and young people with complex needs, including learning disabilities, epilepsy and autism.

During her visit, Prince Edward’s wife also planted a tree in the grounds adjacent to the school. This land is part of a reforestation project of about ten hectares. The Countess of Wessex also visited the school’s educational farm, which includes pigs, ponies, donkeys and alpacas.


The Countess of Wessex distinguishes Tobias Weller

After this visit, the Countess of Wessex went to the Paces facility, which is a leading specialized center for children with cerebral palsy and other motor disorders. There, Sophie met 11-year-old Tobias Weller, who was listed as a British New Year’s Honoree by Queen Elizabeth II. The boy had not yet had the opportunity to physically collect his award.

Tobias Weller became the youngest Briton to receive an official honorary award. The British Empire Medal has existed since 1922. It is the British version of the Medal of Merit. It is awarded by the Crown for civil or military merit.


Tobias Weller, who has autism and cerebral palsy, has completed two marathons, an Iron Man extreme race and a sponsored walk to raise over £158,000 for various good causes, including his school and the Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Pinning the medal on the boy’s vest, Countess Sophie said, “You are the youngest person ever to receive this very, very special award and it is incredibly well deserved. You’ve done such an incredible job. According to The Star, Tobias responded, “It’s a privilege to receive such an honor, and I feel absolutely wonderful. I can’t believe I’m the youngest person in British history to receive such an honor.

The Countess of Wessex ended her day in Sheffield with a third visit. She visited Blend Kitchen, where she met with employees, mentors and trainees from the social enterprise that provides hospitality training and paid work experience to Sheffield’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

Photos credits: Bestimage



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