HIDDEN heroes who work behind the scenes to keep Ardgowan Hospice running are being recognised for their tireless work.

A cook, housekeeper and volunteer at the facility have spoken out about their roles to mark Hospice Care Week, which runs until Sunday.

Tommy Bamford from Greenock has given up his free time to volunteer in the kitchen ever since his mother was in the hospice.

He said: "My mother Matilda, who was also known as Tillybelle, came to the hospice in 2015 and she passed away there.

"I wanted to give something back for the kindness that the hospice showed my mother."

Tommy, who served in the army for 24 years, says volunteering at Ardgowan has helped him cope with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

He said: "It's very important to me as I'm recovering from PTSD from the army so it's very important for me to socialise again.

"Volunteering is very worthwhile as I work in the kitchen with the chefs and I take a tea trolley round the patients at night and get to chat with the patients and visitors.

"I've volunteered for a year now and thoroughly enjoy it.

"The hospice is a place where people can pass away with dignity surrounded by their family.

"Patients are so well looked after by the staff - they do a grand job."

Hospice cook Janet Harrison makes sure everyone enjoys their food while they are in the hospice.

She said: "I work with the catering team to provide services across the two hospices.

"I love a challenge, so if a patient comes in with a special dietary request I will go all out to meet that.

"I'll Google what the problem is and find a way to make food that they can eat.

"I remember someone once told me that I should be working in a restaurant.

"No, that's not for me.

"If a patient can look at the food and it looks nice and they want to east it then I'm very happy.

"It's all about the patients.

"I think people are scared to walk into a hospice.

"But I would like everyone to know that you don't just go into the hospice to die - it's about teaching people them that there is a new way to live with cancer."

Carmen Boyd, who works in the hospitality team and is an assistant house keeper, says her job is role is to make the hospice a home.

She said: "I take pride in the work I do.

"I get to work with a wide variety of people including health care professionals, students and volunteers as well as getting to know patients who come through the door of the hospice.

"The hospice is a vital part of the local community and by working here I can see first hand the excellent care and support that is provided to the patients and their families right on their door step."

Ian Marshall, head of integrated care at the hospice, said: "I am pleased to see we are featuring the people who are often behind the scenes yet provide such an important part of the care we provide.

"We hope the community of Inverclyde will show their affection for Ardgowan wholeheartedly and demonstrate their support in practical ways whether it's by donating, volunteering or spreading the word about hospice care by liking and sharing our posts on their social media."