The family of a much-loved Largs grandfather who lost his life to COVID-19 have praised Crosshouse ICU for the care and compassion he received while in hospital.

Diarmid Norval spent four weeks in intensive care but lost his battle last Sunday at the age of 71.

Family and friends were devastated to lose the popular granddad, who had been fit and active until contracting the virus.

The family told the News that the team within ICU showed great compassion, care and dedication in difficult circumstances as they fought to save Diarmid.

Son-in-law Derek and wife Sharron were so moved by the staff's efforts that they staged an online race night on Saturday evening to say thanks.

The event has now raised a magnificent total of £5,500 for the Ayrshire and Arran Health Board Endowment Fund while a JustGiving site is still taking donations.

Derek said: "The team within ICU have been fantastic and are constantly working hard around the clock.

"We are raising funds as a thank you for their continued care and dedication shown towards Diarmid and the family in difficult circumstances.

"All funds raised will be donated to the ICU at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, who looked after him with love and compassion.

"We cannot thank them enough."

The race night idea started off with just three or four couples but the event, hosted on online conferencing platform Zoom, grew from there.

Derek said: "We initially hoped to raise a few hundred pounds for the NHS, but after putting it out on Facebook, we couldn't believe how everyone responded.

"I have run quizzes and a Grand National sweepstake before in the town, but after speaking to a few people, including Stuart McGregor at Largs Printing Company, we realised we had the opportunity to stage something bigger.

"Stuart was able to broadcast the night over Zoom using YouTube videos of race meetings. In the end we had around 60 people taking part, which was fantastic.

"I also had some help from local bookmaker John Gibson and we picked nine incident packed races."

Derek would like to say thanks to all the local businesses won donated prizes for the race night. The charity event received so many that the remainder not won will be handed into the Ayrshire ICU.

He said: "Given it is a very difficult time for local businesses, so many contributed and offered prizes. It was so kind of them.

"We would like to thank everyone who took part or helped in any way in making the event such a success."

Diarmid lived in Stakehill with wife Maureen and in recent years worked at the West College Scotland as a property maintenance officer.

Derek added: "Diarmid was always helping people out wherever possible - he was very active, be it in building, painting or decorating.

"He had no underlying health issues and the family are devastated by his loss. He was a wonderful, friendly and generous person that would do anything for anyone.

"The hospital always found time to phone Maureen and always went out of their way for us, even though they were so busy. Hopefully this will show them how great we think they all are."

Claire Brennan of Crosshouse Hospital ICU said: "This is an amazing amount and ICU staff are absolutely humbled by the generosity of Mr Norval's friends and family."

Diarmid's funeral took place at the North Coast and Garnock Valley Crematorium earlier today.

* The link for the JustGiving page is . The page will remain open until May 31 for anyone who would still like to donate.