A gold seal of approval was given to newly refurbished facilities at Cornwall’s second largest NHS hospital when they were unveiled by an Olympic medallist.

Gold medal winning rower Helen Glover officially opened the refurbished therapies department at the West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance, the town that she grew up in.

Physiotherapy lead for West Cornwall Hospital, David Cooke, said: "It's been a complete transformation and a very generous donation from the League of Friends has enabled us to essentially start again.

“It's a much more professional and appropriate environment in which we can deliver the care our patients deserve. It's one of the busiest therapy departments in Cornwall and we can now see more patients because of the improved facilities and layout."

The physiotherapy and occupational therapy teams look after outpatients and inpatients for a broad range of conditions including neck, back and shoulder injuries, arthritis, rheumatoid problems, rehabilitation from joint surgery and splinting.

They also provide ‘reablement’ therapy for inpatients coming from the wards, and the team would like to set up a breakfast club to support recovery, encourage mobility and confidence, and help to get patients home sooner.

Lead occupational therapist Talwyn Schofield said the new facilities gave the team a fresh start, adding: “It motivates staff, it's really great and has inspired us. The department looks fantastic, it's really welcoming for people coming in for treatment.

“We're all really proud of the hospital and it shows off West Cornwall in the best light."

The long awaited improvements were made possible thanks to a major legacy left to the Friends of West Cornwall Hospital. The therapies department has now been named The Margaret Close Therapies Department, after the donor.

West Cornwall Hospital League of Friends secretary, Gill Prodger, said: "We had a legacy from Margaret Close, who was a local lady and a long time renal unit patient here, and we wanted to do a big project so we could put her name to it.

“We have a lot of people using occupational therapy and physiotherapy, so this was something we agreed to invest a large amount in. As we can all see, they've done an amazing job. “

VIP guest Helen Glover is no stranger to West Cornwall Hospital, having opened the refurbished reception in 2013.

She said: “I will always shout really loudly about this hospital, about the need for it and the need to keep improving it and also the hard work of every member of staff who works here.

“It is such a vital part of our community so to have improving and to have it thriving is just absolutely key. Thank you to everyone who has made it possible.”