A COMPASSIONATE Greenock woman says her family's donation of more than £13,000 to Ardgowan Hospice over the last five years has helped her deal with the passing of her beloved husband. 

Geraldine Blair, 71, lost her spouse Robert to cancer in 2018 - just five months after he was diagnosed with the illness. 

On the first anniversary of Robert's death, Geraldine's daughter Donna pledged to raised £10,000 for the hospice to thank staff for their care. 

Members of the family smashed the total by taking part in the Bubble Rush event, and received donations from individuals and businesses across Inverclyde. 

Since 2018, Geraldine and her family have donated to the hospice every year to mark important events such as Robert's birthday and the couple's wedding anniversary. 

Geraldine said it's amazing to know that her family are saying 'thank-you' to the hospice and helping other people every year in Robert's memory. 

She added: "The team at the hospice were a godsend for us. 

"After Robert was diagnosed in the July, I looked after him at home until the November. 

"The care he received was absolutely amazing. 

"They were caring for all of us as a family."

Geraldine has four children Donna, Billy, Gerald, and Robert; five grandchildren, Jessica, Olivia, Aimee, Robert, and Lilly; and two step-grandchildren, Jack and Sam.

The expert knitter says she has always enjoyed creating clothes and gifts for her relatives, and says tapping into her crafting skills has helped her after losing Robert. 

The talented gran created a collection of cute knitted Santas for Christmas last year and filled them with chocolate coins and candy canes. 

Selling the unique gifts generated almost £200 for the hospice last year - and Geraldine is already taking orders for next year. 

The big-hearted crafter first started using her skills to help people when the coronavirus pandemic hit. 

She created knitted headbands to help NHS workers keep their face masks secure, and made bags for uniforms to be washed in. 

Geraldine also created pairs of love hearts and 'worry worms', small hand-held keepsakes to give people some comfort in difficult times. 

She said using her skills to help others has really helped her mentally. 

Leap-year baby Geraldine - who will celebrate her 18th 'official' birthday on February 29 - said: "I have to do these things to keep myself busy. 

"I have some health issues at the moment and this is really helping me stay focused and positive. 

"It just feels like a natural thing for me to do, I don't really have to think about it."

Geraldine says she's thrilled with the amount of money the family have raised for Ardgowan Hospice so far and says they plan to donate to the cause every year going forward. 

She added: "I have no idea what we would have done without the hospice. 

"I'm so happy that we've managed to raise this amount so far.

"It's something we will always keep doing."