VETERAN Simon Weston attracted a crowd as he told tales of his service at a treatment centre open day.
Mr Weston, who became known around the world when he suffered 46 per cent burns when the ship he was on was bombed in the Falklands conflict, was at the treatment centre at St Mary’s, in Milton Road, in the city.
He told a crowd of his appreciation for NHS-trained servicemen and women who looked after him when he was badly injured in 1982.
‘It’s crazy that I’m back down this part of the world,’ he said at the centre.
‘Thirty-five years ago this is where it all started for us, probably the most defining part of our lives.
‘Then I was rescued by the NHS – it was a military hospital but a lot of them were trained by the NHS.’
Among the crowd was Joe Erskine, 69, of Portsmouth, who was one of those who looked after Mr Weston after he was injured.
Mr Weston, speaking to The News at Care UK’s facility, added: ‘The NHS are an incredible group of people.
‘Ultimately the heartbeat of the NHS is its people.’
Visitors to the centre on Saturday were given a tour of the different rooms.
And to top it off, two new diagnostic imaging rooms were formally opened by 55-year-old ex-Welsh Guardsman Mr Weston.
Tracey Brodie, diagnostic imaging manager, said: ‘It’s really good, especially for the children as they get to see the rooms when they’re not in use so it’s not a scary environment for them.’
Carol Latham 74, of Lindisfarne Close, Cosham, had come along to go on a tour of the centre having previously been on similar tours at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
She said: ‘It’s good to get people seeing what actually happens here.
‘We’ve never been taken around here before, it’s very interesting.
‘It will help who think they’ve got to go to the QA and see that QA isn’t the only place they can go.
‘And it’s good to see Simon and to meet him.
Deb Fellows, operations manager, added: ‘We wanted to showcase what we provide to the local community.
‘There are some people who aren’t aware that we are here and we want to advocate patient choice so they can choose to come here to have procedures.’
She added the minor injury and illnesses unit was helping to take the burden from QA Hospital.
Around 160,000 people were treated at the centre as a whole last year.
It is run on contract with the NHS.