IT gives us so much pride today to be able to give you, our readers, a little sneak preview inside Barrow's stunning new maternity unit

The South Lakes Birthing Centre has been a long time in the making on so many levels - from the 15 months of tireless effort it has taken to physically build the state-of-the-art new facility, to the years of hard work that the board and front-line staff at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay have put into turning around the fortunes of Furness General Hospital.

This new facility, a crisp, modern unit, feels almost symbolic in its nature - a completely clean slate on which to continue building a thriving maternity service which has shown major improvements over the years and has become a national example of best practice.

The fact that the families affected by the failings in the old unit have come together and worked with the hospital trust to shape this vision of the future makes this step forward even more poignant.

The Mail has been privileged to work with the staff of FGH for many years now, and we know how hard they work day in, day out, to provide the best possible care and environment for their patients.

We have reported on the hospital in its darkest hours, but also in its times of greatest achievement, and February 14 will feel for many of us like the final culmination of a journey the whole community has taken together.

From the days of the campaign to retain consultant-level services in Barrow, through to the public engagement over the shape and make-up of the new unit, you, the people of Furness, have made your mark on maternity care in south Cumbria.

With the official opening just over a month away, we look forward to seeing the first baby born in the new unit appear in the pages of The Mail - and many more after for plenty of years to come.