PATIENTS at St Margaret’s Hospice will enjoy extra comfort thanks to a generous donation in memory of a former Taunton Deane Mayor.

Ken Hayward was cared for at the charity’s Bishop's Hull in-patient unit before returning home to Norton Fitzwarren, where he died in July, aged 60.

During his time at the hospice during the hot summer weather, he came up with the idea of raising money so every patient could have a remote controlled fan to keep cool.

After Mr Hayward died, family and friends continued to support his project through fundraising and there were donations from staff at Taunton Deane Borough Council, Somerset Stairlifts and Mobility and Norton Fitzwarren Village Hall.

Current Mayor Cllr Catherine Herbert helped in negotiating a deal with Dyson, and the £1,280 raised was enough for eight fans.

Mr Hayward's family visited the hospice to present the fans and receive a commemorative sunflower plaque, now on the celebration tree near reception.

They were joined by the Mayor and Nita and Donald Wyatt, of Norton Fitzwarren Village Hall, and Mark Grantham, of Somerset Stairlifts and Mobility.

Mr Hayward's widow, Mary, said: "Ken was admitted to St Margaret's Hospice in June. It immediately felt like a second home.

"We were treated with courtesy, care and consideration. We felt really comfortable bringing our granddaughters here to visit, and it was nice to be able to bring the dog and have a picnic in the garden.

"The weather was very warm and Ken requested the use of a fan. He was delighted to be offered a Dyson fan with a remote control.

"As a terminally ill patient, Ken had a limited ability to carry out any action for himself. The remote controlled fan enabled him to control the temperature of his room without having to constantly call staff to switch the fan on or off, or adjust the settings.

"Ken would have been very pleased to know that he was able to make a practical contribution towards patient comfort at St Margaret's."

Teresa Coombes, head of in-patient services, said: "What Ken’s family and friends have achieved is incredible. It will make a massive difference to our patients.

"We always strive to give people as much choice and independence as possible, and these remote controlled fans will enable patients to make themselves more comfortable. Fan therapy is also really useful in helping patients with breathlessness."

Cllr Herbert said: "Ken was a great man and it sums him up that, instead of feeling sorry for himself, he was thinking of ways to improve things for people who would follow him into the hospice."