THE city's new breast care unit at Salisbury District Hospital was official opened today (Friday).

The unit has been named after retired Salisbury engineer David Brown, who made a substantial donation to the Stars Appeal fundraising campaign.

Mr Brown joined Lord Pembroke, the president of the Stars Appeal, and consultant surgeon Victoria Brown to unveil the official plaque in front of patients, staff and other invited guests.

The plaque was in memory of Mr Brown’s mother and father, Frederick and Violet Ethel Brown.

The David A Brown Breast unit is Salisbury's first dedicated breast unit.

Mr Brown said: "It is fantastic, they have done a wonderful job.

"It is really marvelous what has been achieved."

He added: "I have given a vast sum of money, I've never regretted it for one moment."

The new unit has dedicated diagnostic, treatment and counselling rooms enabling quicker care and treatment.

It also means diagnosis and follow up appointments will all be delivered in one place with less need for patients to visit other departments in the hospital.

Speaking about the opening, consultant surgeon Victoria Brown, said: "It is great, it has been a long time in all the planning, wishing and dreaming of it. "

She said the hospital had received great feedback from patients and said: "We have been working in it for a few months and it has already made a real difference. Patients who have been to the old unit have been amazed at the difference it makes to their journey."

She says the new unit gives "more space and flexibility" to provide care for patients.

Jo Argyle, who was treated for breast cancer after being diagnosed last year, said: "It is good to have it all in one place, which is really important."

This was echoed by Sally Bradley, who was treated for breast cancer after being diagnosed in 2011. She also praised the "calm and peaceful" environment at the new unit.

The breast team at the hospital worked with patients on the design of the unit.

Jo Bott, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 when she 26, has been involved with design process and said she was so proud of the new unit and said: "It has been incredible being on the design team to see our designs go from paper into the building.

"Having everything in one place makes such a difference."

Work started on the unit back in March 2016 after a successful Stars Appeal community campaign, backed by the Journal, raised £750,000.

The generosity of the community was praised by breast care nurses Shirley Holmes and Sonnya Dabill.

They said the generosity of the community had been "incredible" and the new unit has made the already excellent service even better.

Lord Pembroke added: "It is a huge achievement for the Stars Appeal. It has been a very well supported appeal.

"What is really special about this is it is the first project that we have designed and built from scratch ourselves. It has been 100 per cent Stars Appeal from the ground up .

"It is a huge achievement for us to be able to do this. It helps provide facilities that are very much needed in the local area and will go on to support thousands of individuals for years to come."