THE National Society for Epilepsy's brand new state-of-the-art assessment centre opened its doors to more than 50 major donors who helped make the world-leading project possible.

Among those attending the launch of the £2.4 million Sir William Gowers Epilepsy Assessment Centre at the NSE headquarters in Chesham Road, Chalfont St Peter, last Friday were Felicity Dahl of the Dahl Foundation which funded a recreation room in the centre and David Laskow-Pooley of Amersham plc, which raised £20,000 for the society.

The Sir William Gowers centre, which opens for business at the end of the month, will be the largest NHS epilepsy assessment facility in the UK, providing a service for more than 300 people a year.

Named after the 19th century physician and forefather of modern day epilepsy treatment, the Sir William Gowers centre has a direct link to the world's first MRI scanner dedicated solely to identifying the causes of epilepsy.

It will now be possible to undertake a brain scan at the centre directly after a seizure the first time this has been possible anywhere in the world.

Professor John Duncan, consultant neurologist and NSE medical director said: "Here is the potential to achieve the clearest picture yet about an individual patient's epilepsy. This will be a whole new area of epilepsy research that will unfold over the next five to ten years."

NSE president the Rt Hon Earl Howe, NSE chairman Anthony Wheatley and NSE chief executive Graham Faulkner welcomed Mrs Dahl before she officially opened the Roald Dahl Recreation Room towards which the Dahl Foundation contributed more than £17,000.

Other guests included individual donors, many of whom have raised funds in memory of loved ones.