WINNER of the 2017 Queen's Award, Aspire, Ryde, continued to impress the royals with a visit from Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, today (Thursday).

The Countess was greeted by Aspire's chief executive, Heath Monaghan, and other Island dignitaries including High Sheriff, Gioia Minghella, as she arrived at the church.

Mr Monaghan said: "It's all very exciting. It was fantastic to win the award last year — it was for the whole team so all the volunteers received that recognition which was amazing.

"This is a year on, and it's great to know the royal family are still interested in what we do and how we do it and they're interested to visit us and see what's going on."

The Countess was entertained by dancers from PJ's dancers and Shannon Harris from Wight Arts and Fitness, which both use the hall to rehearse or hold classes.

Mr Monaghan added: "We now see up to 3000 people a week utilising our services and we're completely reliant on the more than 100 volunteers we have here."

Throughout the tour, which included the many facilities available at the venue, the Countess met Ryde Academy students Benson Hardy, Georgia Newbery and Talitha Monaghan, all aged 12, as well as volunteers and workers at the organisation.

Aspire Choir filled the grounds with music as the Countess unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit.

Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, also officially named Wightlink's Victoria of Wight and visited Island business Liz Earle during her royal visit today.

Watch the unveiling below: