THE £50,000 hospice garden at Queen Margaret Hospital, which has been helped to grow by Press readers and their kind donations, has been hailed as a "fantastic project" by Dunfermline's MSP.

Shirley-Anne Somerville visited the tranquil area last Thursday and put her green fingers to work, helping local volunteers to maintain the flower beds and plants.

The MSP said: “It’s amazing to see this fantastic project continuing to benefit patients at Queen Margaret Hospice."

The idea was dreamed up by Anne Morton, of Dalgety Bay, in the summer of 2017 following a personal bereavement.

She wanted a place to help brighten the final days of West Fifers nearing the end of their lives and volunteers in the Queen Margaret Hospice Garden Group set about making that dream become a reality.

They had already raised £32,500 but appealed for help from Press readers to reach their final target of £50,000.

Just five months later, an area at QMH was transformed into an oasis of colour and tranquility, with the official opening in October last year.

This week, Anne said: “The garden group responds to requests from the hospice ward staff, patients and families. The requests are raised and agreed at committee level.

“Shirley-Anne was interested in the latest request with plans for two shelter areas to be built at either end of the garden.

"These will be big enough to accommodate a bed and will give some privacy plus shade from the sun or shelter from the rain. We hope to have this in place by the end of the year."

As well as helping out in the garden, Ms Somerville heard about the benefits the garden has brought to hospice patients and their families.

It is a joint NHS Community Group project and volunteers tend to the growing space every week.

The MSP added: “The garden is looking fantastic and it’s a lovely area to spend time in.

“This is made possible by the local volunteers who give up their time to keep the garden in such great shape. "Thanks to their hard work, patients can continue to enjoy the summer sunshine with their friends, families and loved ones.

“It was a pleasure to hear from the volunteers about their work in the garden, and lend a hand myself.”

There will be an open day at the hospice garden on Friday July 26, giving members of the public an opportunity to visit the garden and hear how and why it was developed.