THE campaign for a second MRI scanner at Salisbury District Hospital has reached another milestone, in time for one final push over the festive period.

Thanks to generous Salisbury residents and Journal readers, the Stars Appeal announced this week that it has raised £1.25million of its £1.5million target - leaving just £250,000 left to raise.

The campaign, which started last November, aimed to provide a second life-saving MRI scanner at the hospital, which is forecast to help around 10,000 people attending Salisbury hospital each year.

The second scanner will allow hospital staff to diagnose conditions more quickly with faster, better and more accessible scans, to get patients home as soon as possible. It will use the very latest technology for cutting edge diagnostic techniques including cardiac and prostate MRI.

The hospital’s existing MRI scanner helps thousands of people every year but is now running at full capacity.

Campaign ambassador and Consultant Rheumatologist Richard Smith said he was getting “increasingly excited about the prospect of the new scanner” as the overall target comes into view.

Dr Smith added: “It’s going to be a real game changer for our patients, allowing us to investigate all of our patients in our hospital.

“We just need everyone to keep up their wonderful support as we strive to raise the final £250,000 we need to make the second MRI scanner a reality.”

And the campaign chairman, cancer surgeon Graham Branagan thanked all donors and fundraisers for their “fantastic efforts” as he called for “one final, massive effort” over the Christmas period and into the new year.

“This landmark demonstrates the immense generosity and commitment of the local population to the Stars Appeal and their local hospital,” he added.

City residents and those from further afield have taken on sporting challenges, asked for donations in lieu of birthday gifts and held special events to raise the money over the past year.

“It’s just amazing that our fabulous fundraisers and supporters have already raised £1.25million for the MRI Scanner Campaign,” said Penny Brown, who is chairman of the Stars Appeal Fundraising Committee.

“With only £250,000 to go, our dream is to reach our final target soon.

“Your continued support of the Stars Appeal is vital.

“Thank you everyone!”