THE Countess of Wessex met this special new arrival during a tour of Whiston Hospital as she officially marked its opening.

Sophie chatted to patients and volunteers as she took a tour of the multi-million pound hospital.

More than half a million people are treated each year, from across the North of England, including North Wales and the Isle of Man.

Completed six months ahead of schedule and within budget, the new Whiston Hospital opened to patients in 2010. Since then, the old Victorian buildings have been demolished and car parks and landscaping has been completed.

A spokesperson from St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust said that the re-development has been the “biggest and most significant project” in their history and the largest investment in healthcare in this area since the formation of the NHS.