WORK on a £3million hospice has started, with the building due to be up and running within 12 months.

More than a decade of fundraising by staff at the Kilbryde Hospice charity will result in a 12-bed palliative care hospice in the grounds of East Kilbride's Hairmyres Hospital.

As the diggers moved in, Kilbryde Hospice chairman Dennis Gallagher met with NHS Lanarkshire chairman, Neena Mahal, and chief executive Ian Ross at the build site.

The land is officially leased to Kilbryde Hospice from NHS Lanarkshire and is at the perfect location to offer support to patients using Hairmyres Hospital and surrounding facilities for the treatment of cancer and other life-limiting illnesses, such as Parkinsons Disease or MS.

Situated to the back of Hairmyres Hospital, just off Strathtay Avenue, the new hospice will allow for an expansion of the existing day hospice and care-at-home services already offered by Kilbryde Hospice.

Mr Gallagher said: "It has taken us a long time, but we are delighted to finally get to start our hospice build. NHS Lanarkshire support has been fundamental to allow us to get to this stage and we look forward to developing our range of services with them over the next few years to support the population of South Lanarkshire when they most need it."

The hospice was the dream of charity founder Tony McGuinness, who died in 2011 at the age of 76, having worked tirelessly to make the building a reality.

Ms Mahal said: "We are delighted to have finalised the lease with the Kilbryde Hospice for the land at Hairmyres Hospital on which the new hospice will be built.

"It is fantastic to see the project reach another major milestone with work beginning on site. We look forward to continuing to work together with the Kilbryde Hospice to provide palliative care services that will support the quality of life for people facing life-limiting and end-of-life illnesses."

Fundraising for the hospice build was backed by Rangers manager Ally McCoist, TV presenter Lorraine Kelly and comedian Andy Cameron, who are patrons of the appeal.

All Kilbryde Hospice services are free, with support also provided to the patients' families and carers.

Existing services can be accessed at the Kilbryde Hospice Drop-in Centre within the Red Deer Centre, or by calling 01355 593484.