AN appeal to find volunteers has been launched in the next stage of plans to convert a disused hospital into an end-of-life care facility.

Herriot Hospice Homecare has launched its appeal for volunteer staff across Hambleton to work in the former Lambert Hospital in Thirsk once renovated.

The hospital was recently gifted by Hambleton District Council following a series of consultation events with members of the public.

Residents who had been asked by the council for their suggestions on its future use in the town "overwhelmingly" supported plans for its conversion into a hospice in February.

A covenant, which restricted its use, was placed on the building by previous owners NHS Property Services which banned it for use as a pharmacy, GP surgery or dental practice.

At the time of consultations, leader of Hambleton District Council, Councillor Mark Robson, said: “If the council hadn’t of stepped in to purchase, it (Lambert Hospital) would be lost – it wouldn’t have the potential for community use whatever that may be."

But after several months of behind-the-scenes work being completed and a £90,000 cash boost from Hambleton District Council, the hospice's chief executive urged residents in Thirsk and Sowerby to get behind the plans.

Tony Collins, chief executive of Herriot Hospice Homecare, said: “It is very important to us that the community identified a need for palliative hospice care in their area and that they thought of us to provide such a vital service.

"We are also delighted that the council backed this wish and we thank them for their generous contribution to the project, which will significantly increase the availability of hospice care services for local people. Now the hard work begins to realise this vision and we want the community to be involved and informed every step of the way.”

Mr Collins said the support from fundraisers, donors and volunteers, would help bring the disused hospital back into use as a "community asset".

He said volunteers would also help the charity extend its "well-loved" home service, sitting and befriending and driving services. For more information visit or telephone 01609-777413.