A LUXURY care home named after the ship which rescued survivors of the Titanic disaster has celebrated its official opening.

The ceremony at the £5.5m Carpathia Grange in Hythe was performed by the chairman of New Forest District Council, Cllr Allan Glass, and the home's first resident, Freda Bale.

During the event, Malcolm Kitson was announced as the winner of the home's Local Heroes competition.

Daily Echo:

It was launched by Carpathia Grange to celebrate the home’s opening and honour local people or organisations which go above and beyond for friends, family or the local community.

Mr Kitson, who has spent almost two decades volunteering at Southampton General Hospital, was awarded a trophy and a cash prize of £300.

In 2015 Mr Kitson was named one of the most inspirational people in Britain after being included in the Independent on Sunday's Happy List for 2015.

Fours earlier he was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Mr Kitson began supporting the hospital by spending three days a week supporting staff on the wards by talking to and reassuring patients, helping at mealtimes and assisting in other tasks, enabling nurses to perform other tasks.

The Horrill Day Centre, which enables more than older people a week to remain as independent as possible, received the second prize trophy and £200.

Third place went to Sylvia Burman, who is heavily involved in the Waterside Good Neighbours scheme.

Daily Echo:

People arriving for the opening ceremony were were greeted by a professional harpist and also enjoyed entertainment provided by a jazz band. Residents and guests were given the opportunity to meet a variety of animals which had been brought along by Creature Teachers.

The home's manager, Ray Arnold, said: "We were delighted to welcome the council chairman to officially open the home and mark this important milestone.

“The residents had a fantastic time celebrating and enjoyed preparing for the event by helping to decorate the home.

"Having animals visit us was a brilliant addition to the day, and being able to pet and interact with them really put a smile on everyone’s faces."

Run by Care UK three-storey care home, which provides residential, dementia and nursing care, has 62 en-suite bedrooms and a variety of facilities including a cafe, cinema and hair salon.

Carpathia Grange is springing up on land formerly occupied by the Forresters Respite Centre.

It is named after the ship which saved 700 lives after the Titanic sank during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 1912.