A TEAM of green-fingered volunteers has helped brighten the lives of hospital patients by creating a sensory garden and rockery.

Young volunteers from The Prince's Trust raised almost £400 to fund the project at Weardale Community Hospital in Stanhope.

The team of 16 to 25 year-olds, based at the Lightfoot Institute, in Bishop Auckland, spent about ten days transforming bare grass into the gardens.

Staff and patients at the hospital are delighted with the finished result, particularly the rockery which has been dedicated to the building's designer Rob Niven, who died of cancer last year.

Staff nurse Geraldine Maddison said: "We've got a wonderful, practical building thanks to the dedication and thought that Mr Niven put into designing this new hospital. We appreciate that extra effort and are pleased to remember him with the rockery.

"Patients love to spend time outdoors and these gardens will improve that time and could help rehabilitation. The Prince's Trust has been wonderful and we're very grateful for their hard work."

Team leader Gillian Nelson added: "The volunteers have thoroughly enjoyed the project and gained some useful new skills and experience.

"We were pleased to help the hospital patients and hope they continue to enjoy the work we've done."

Mr Niven's wife, Meg, said that the memorial garden was a lovely idea and that her late husband would have been thrilled.