SCOTTISH Cabinet Minister Humza Yousaf turned up at a hospice with 32 members of his family to say a big thank you to staff for caring for his late uncle and “best friend”.

The Europe and International Development Minister and half of his extended family visited the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow at the weekend armed with food and flowers for staff and nurses.

Yousaf lost his uncle Azhar Bhutta last year at the age of just 54 to pancreatic cancer, but he said staff at the hospice made the end of his life much more bearable.

He said: “My uncle was a best friend to me, I was lucky to have him in my life and will miss him terribly.

“Watching him suffer the effects of pancreatic cancer was tough and he was often in a lot of pain.

“However, the care he received at the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice was exceptional.

“Not only did they help manage his pain so he was comfortable, they were loving, affectionate and only too happy to accommodate his many friends and family who were frequent visitors to the hospice.”

Yousaf was joined at the hospice by his mother Shaaista Yousaf, Azhar’s sister, and his uncle’s widow Najma Bhutta, both from Glasgow, and other relatives from across the UK including London and Oxford.

He and his family have already raised £15,000 towards the costs of building a new hospice at Bellahouston Park to replace the one on the River Clyde, which has outgrown its needs and looks after about 1,200 patients.

The foundations go down in June and patients are expected to move in spring 2018. Just in excess of £4 million is needed to hit the £21m target for the build.

Yousaf added: “I am delighted to help in any way I can to raise as much money as possible to secure a brand new hospice. I hope others will too.”

The family's aim is to have a room in the new hospice dedicated to Azhar.

Hospice chief executive Rhona Baillie was delighted to welcome the family to Carlton Place.

She said: “It is always wonderful when families return to the hospice, it says so much about the care their loved one received. There is so much more available to patients and families at the hospice than end-of-life care. We have first-class family support services, complementary therapies, carer support groups, creative arts and a chaplain who all work to offer each patient the support they need, wherever they are on their journey.”

Yousaf’s mother said she wanted to return to the hospice to remember her brother and thank the staff who cared for him.

Shaaista added: “We wanted to thank all the staff and everyone who looked after him so well.”

Azhar’s widow Najma said Asian families needed to know there was help and support available. She added: “A lot of people in the Muslim community don’t know about the hospice.

“People have the wrong idea, they think hospices are only for someone’s final days. My husband was in touch with the hospice for two years, he would come in for a massage or attend art classes as a day patient, or to receive pain control. There was help for him and the whole family.”