HRH the Countess of Wessex has today officially opened the new headquarters of County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service.
Firefighters, officers, control and corporate staff from the service gathered at HQ, Belmont Business Park, Durham, to greet the Royal party. They were joined by local councillors and dignitaries from the region.
During the visit, Sophie Wessex was shown the new command and control section of the building, which became operational last month.
There was also an exercise involving Scrappy, the service’s fire investigation dog, a demonstration of the capabilities of the aerial ladder platform and a water rescue display.
Before officially opening the building and unveiling the plaque to commemorate the occasion, the Countess met members of the Young Firefighters Association.
The new HQ is home to more than 100 staff and the site replaces the former HQ at Framwellgate Moor in Durham.
See tomorrow’s Sunderland Echo for on Sophie’s visit.