Residents and Platinum Skies employees were joined by veterans, Help for Heroes officials and former nurses of the Old Manor Hospital gathered for a ribbon cutting of the new luxury retirement flats into which the Grade II listed building has been converted.

Platinum Skies selected Help for Heroes as its charity to support for the year, and representatives were present to represent the organisation during the event.

Former Captain Megan Lloyd, 39, brought along her support dog Denver, who has been with her through her military service, including when she was injured during a medical procedure in Tidworth in 2018, after having survived combat zones overseas.

Capt Lloyd said: “This dog has never left my side.”

She thanked Platinum Skies for supporting Help for Heroes, which helped her to adjust to civilian life when she was medically discharged after having been in the military since joining at the age of 15 years and nine months. She had never lived outside of military quarters in her adult life and suddenly life for her and her family no longer revolved around military obligations.

Capt Lloyd said: “When that ends very, very abruptly, you need help.”

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Salisbury Journal: Former Captain Megan Lloyd said a few words following the ribbon cutting about how Help for Heroes helped her adjust to civilian life.Former Captain Megan Lloyd said a few words following the ribbon cutting about how Help for Heroes helped her adjust to civilian life. (Image: Spencer Mulholland)

The ceremony was also attended by former nurses of Finch House during its days as a mental health hospital.

Dolly O’Connor, 94, cut the ribbon. She began working as a nurse at Finch House in 1947 and retired after 38 years, setting up Dunraven Care Group in 1983, which she still actively operates.

Residents of the building were also invited.

Salisbury Journal: Dolly O'Connor, 94Dolly O'Connor, 94 (Image: Spencer Mulholland)

Peter Daykin, 92, was one of the first people to move into the new flats five years ago. He was familiar with the building, having served as chair of the Manic-Depressive Association during its days as a hospital.

Peter said: “I’ve seen it develop from being a mental health hospital to a derelict building for about 20 years.

“It’s a changed place from when I used to come in.”

Ken Millar, 77, who has lived at Finch House for nine months, said it has been a very positive experience.

Ken said: “It’s comfortable, it’s convenient, I can still walk into town if I want.”