STAFF at St Richard's Hospice are celebrating after being given a late - or very early - Christmas present to help them support their patients.

The Worcester-based hospice has been given the use of a car for a year by Gemini ARC body shop and accident repair company, which has its head office in Kidderminster.

The vehicle, a Skoda Octavia, will be used by St Richard’s porter and caretaker Richard Curzon for taking patients to and from medical appointments among other clinical tasks.

Clearly decorated with the hospice logo, the car will also be available for other staff members to use.

Mark Jackson, chief executive of St Richard's, said: "We are incredibly grateful to Gemini ARC for this generous donation of a car for a year.

"It will prove very helpful to transport patients in comfort, particularly to hospital appointments.

"While it’s out and about the livery will also remind people about St Richard's being their local hospice."

Dave Sargeant, managing director of Gemini ARC, said: "St Richard's do an amazing job under extremely difficult circumstances.

"Gemini ARC has chosen St Richard's as our Charity of 2016 and will be doing various events to try and raise as much money as we can, in addition to providing a pool car for a year.

"St Richard's Hospice is particularly close to our hearts as they looked after my father in law, Graham, in his final weeks."

The hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses and also supports their families.

Each year the hospice team supports more than 2,600 patients and family members in Worcestershire at its Day Hospice, 17-bed In-patient Unit or in their own homes.