HRH The Princess Royal today viewed the SOS Bus and attended a reception for volunteers and sponsors at Hillsborough Castle. Upon arrival HRH was greeted by the Vice-Lord Lieutenant of County Down Mrs Fionnuala Cook OBE DL.
The SOS Bus is an award-winning charity launched in November 2007 based in Belfast. Each bus, one based at Shaftesbury Square, Belfast, and the other at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, is equipped with a fully functioning medical centre designed by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and crewed by a pro-paramedics team which enables the volunteers to professionally assess and treat clients on-site up to 4am each weekend. In less than 4 years the SOS Bus has interacted with over 145,000 people, provided in-depth caring or medical support to over 3,500 who have been damaged emotionally or physically on the streets of Belfast, and saved 7 lives.
Moving inside the bus, accompanied by Brian Brown, Director, SOS Bus Northern Ireland and Joe Hyland, Chief Executive Officer, SOS Bus Northern Ireland, HRH met SOS Bus Driver George Grimlay, Paramedic Ann Fitzgerald and Flo Lucas, a mother of a young person who benefited from the services of the SOS Bus, and viewed the facilities onboard.
Later, in the Throne Room of Hillsborough Castle, HRH met a number of Funders and Suppliers associated with the SOS Bus. HRH also met a number of Team Leaders and Volunteers who staff the SOS Bus on a regular basis.
Mr Stephen Kingon, Chairman, SOS Bus Northern Ireland said a few words and presented HRH with a gift of a specially commissioned piece of Halcyon Days pottery, before inviting HRH to sign the SOS Bus visitors’ book.
Prior to farewells HRH also signed the Hillsborough Castle visitors’ book.