ULVERSTON’S St Mary’s Hospice launched into its 25th anniversary year with a ‘topping out’ ceremony at its new state-of-the-art building.

Officials hope it was only the first of many celebrations that will be held there during the silver anniversary year.

Chief executive Val Stengoe said: “It was a fantastic event – we couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the year.”

The opening of the new two-storey building due later this year will mark the first time the Hospice has had dedicated space and facilities for day care patients.

The development, which was completed with a £468,000 grant from the Department of Health, will give the charity the opportunity to provide more day sessions – from weekly group and social gatherings to special interest activities and sessions.

It will also house a new education centre where specialist training will be given to staff and medical personnel from across south Cumbria.