Saturday May 23rd 2020

The Earl and Countess of Wessex joined volunteers at Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking this week to help pack emergency food parcels for vulnerable people across the borough.

They also delivered a personal video message for the local and wider Muslim community to mark the end of Ramadan and the start of Eid Mubarak celebrations this weekend.

With the generous support of local churches, businesses and all the community, and spearheaded by mosque manager Mohammed Habib, it has already delivered more than 700 parcels to help local residents through the crisis.

Shahid Azeem, current High Sheriff of Surrey, said:

“The Earl and Countess of Wessex were warmly welcomed back to Woking and we were delighted with their help getting much-needed supplies out to those most impacted by the crisis.

“We were also proud to share our story and to show them the remarkable, collaborative effort being undertaken by the entire community here.”

Prince Edward and Sophie also met with Imam Hafiz Hashmi and his wife Kawther Akhtar, who spearheads Surrey Faith Links, an organisation which promotes engagement, support and good relationships with faith groups and other organisations across the country.

The royal couple, who live in Surrey, have been carrying out vital volunteer work with a string of local organisations in recent weeks.

In April, Woking Foodbank welcomed HRH The Countess of Wessex to their local facilities to join volunteers in support of this important community cause providing emergency food parcels and essential baby supplies.

Earlier this month, on International Nurses Day, Sophie also volunteered to help pack food packages for healthcare staff and meeting nurses and midwives at St Peter’s Hospital in nearby Chertsey.

In 2015, Prince Edward officially opened a memorial garden in Woking in honour of Muslims who fought for Britain during two world wars. A beautiful, tranquil space, the Muslim Burial Ground Peace Garden at Horsell Common is now a major national heritage site which is popular with the local community, as well as national and international visitors.

The first mosque to be built in the UK and Northern Europe, and a vital community focal point for the local Muslim community, the Shah Jahan Mosque was last year awarded historical Grade 1 listed-building status.

A registered charity, the mosque celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2019.

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