A LATE West Fife psychiatric nurse who worked with TV presenter Ben Fogle to develop mental health programmes has been honoured in Ayrshire.

John McNeish, who passed away in 2011 aged 56 following a battle with cancer, has been recognised for his 'innovative' work in the field by having a building at Ailsa Hospital, on the outskirts of Ayr, named after him on Friday July 27.

Opened in the garden of the hospital, which provides a rehabilitation ward and older, adult inpatient services, the John McNeish Building is a summer house that will provide patients, and their family and friends, with some quiet time.

Kelty-born John, who attended St Columba's High School, initially enrolled at Stirling University to embark on a teaching career but, after a spell of travelling around Europe, trained as a psychiatric nurse.

That led to him working with NHS Ayrshire and Arran for more than 30 years, where he went on to become a supervisor and one of the first members of a community mental health team, becoming a team leader.

John's sister, Elizabeth Campbell, attended the commemoration along with his wife Linda, sons Andrew and Sean and his grandchildren, and explained that so keen was he to avoid the limelight, that some of his work only came to light after his passing.

"The eulogy at this funeral was a revelation to us; until then, we didn't know that he worked closely with Ben Fogle to create a programme where anything to do with nature and being outdoors helped people with depression and anxiety," she said.

"A few years before he passed away, he was nominated for the Unsung Hero Award, but he wanted to go away on holiday so he wouldn't have to be at the presentation. Linda, his wife, invited a few of his former colleagues on Friday and one of them was talking about the award because he had to go and give a speech.

"My sister-in-law didn't know anything about it!

"He just did his job and didn't think he should get recognition. He headed the suicide prevention team, which is where he was when he lost his battle with cancer, and he just worked away quietly.

"Any time you asked 'how's the job going?', he'd say, 'ach it's fine'. He was so laid back he was horizontal!

"His colleagues had nothing but good to say about him. This is a nice thought and I'm very proud of him and all he did to provide help and stability for those who needed cared for."

One of John's former colleagues, Frank Reilly, director of the Scottish Recovery Network, added: "John would have been heartily embarrassed to be the centre of this much attention.

"He did so much to help people see what they could do to improve mental health through collaboration and partnership. These are real recovery principles and both John and I knew that made the difference."