AFTER all the depressing weather we have had, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, gave the people of Oxfordshire something to smile about yesterday.

The royal visitor toured the county to highlight the excellent work of two charities and a hospital.

She was fortunate enough to meet families whose lives have been changed by adoption charity Parents and Children Together, which was celebrating its centenary.

Later she called in at the Warneford Hospital in Oxford, where a new multi-million-pound unit was being opened for young people suffering mental health problems.

Finally she met the founders of the Oxford Food Bank and voluntary organisations which have benefited from its existence.

There the countess met Icolyn Smith, no stranger to Royalty after being awarded an MBE for her work with the disadvantaged.

Mrs Smith, known as ‘Ma’ by the homeless people she has cooked meals for at the Asian Cultural Centre over the past 23 years, was able to tell the countess how her work has been made easier by the donations of fresh food her team receives from the food bank.

The charities visited by the countess will be grateful for the attention, as the royal family’s approval could bring in more volunteers, more donations, and more funding.

When the Duchess of Cambridge became patron in 2012 of the Art Room charity, which has branches in Oxfordshire, the organisation was given a massive boost.

The people who serve these organisations are not looking for a pat on the back – their priority is helping other people – but they will be pleased that their sterling work has been recognised.