Sophie Wessex looks ecstatic as she cuddles adorable rabbit during visit to The Countryside Education Trust

Sophie Wessex was in high spirits as she cuddled up with a cute rabbit during a visit to The Countryside Education Trust.

The 58 year oldroyal put on a casual display during the trip to Beaulieu, Hampshire – opting for comfortable jeans and a stylish navy parka.

She was braced against the wintry conditions with a grey wool jumper and scarf – completing her look with brown leather boots with her hair styled in bouncy curls.

The Countess of Wessex was warmly greeted by members of the trust as she arrived for the engagement – and later she looked over the moon as she held the adorable rabbit.

The Countryside Education Trust was established in 1975 and its mission is to connect people with the countryside – introducing them to rural life and farming.

It welcomes schools all year, with an emphasis on hands-on, outdoor learning where students can experience daily life on the farm and explore the woodlands.

Sophie visited the Trust to officially open a new centre created to teach people of all ages about the climate crisis.

The Countess unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the Fort Climate Centre.

She also chatted with children from the Trust’s after-school club – who showed her the animals they care for.

Sophie met some of the Trust’s volunteers who were planting climate-resilient crops while being introduced to the group's oldest and youngest volunteers – 90-year-old Marg Verdon and nine-year-old Noah Barnard.

She also met children from Beaulieu Primary School who demonstrated climate games.

Countryside Education Trust chief executive Jane Cooper said: "We are looking forward to helping people of all ages to learn more about the challenges of climate change and empowering them to act.

"We believe that this building will provide an inclusive base for climate education in the New Forest and beyond."

The Fort Climate Centre will provide education to schools, be a focus for courses and events about climate change and the environment, and act as a hub for local green groups.

The Trust was donated the building by the Fort Foundation in a move that reflects the long-held desire of founder Edward Fort OBE to bring education about climate change to the general public to encourage action.

Trust chair Lord Montagu added: "We are enormously grateful for this gift from the Fort Foundation and for Mr Fort’s trust in our organisation to deliver such an exciting project.

"We were pioneers of environmental education when the Countryside Education Trust was founded in 1975, now we are pioneers of climate education.

"Understanding that caring for the environment is an integral part of finding solutions to climate change is vital work."

Sophie’s visit to the Trust comes after her trip to a Connaught Junior School in Bagshot, Surrey, to open a new STEAM Lab, a space for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths, and to help the school celebrate its 60th anniversary.

During the school visit, she waspresented with a cake in honour of her 58th birthday. Sophie also planted a tree to mark The Queen's Green Canopy initiative.


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