If anyone knew the joy of being able to get out and about it was the late Doug Sands, despite having lived over 50 years in a wheelchair.

When he died in July, aged 73, he bequeathed his mobility van to North Haven Hospice. Mr Sands hadn't been a client of the hospice but he understood how dependent that organisation was on community support.

On Friday Mr Sands' sister Robyn handed the van over to North Haven manager Leonie Gallaher.

"He always gave to the hospice," Ms Sands said.


"He supported lots and lots of charities. He got a lot of joy out of giving."

Ms Sands said when her brother got the van 15 years ago, it gave him a whole social life and independence.

Collecting up the van's spare keys from his friends proved that, she said. They had keys so that when Mr Sands wanted an outing - to the beach, a barbecue or further afield to a rugby match in Auckland - they would fetch the van from Ms Sand's property, pick up their mate from where he lived permanently at Whangarei Hospital and head off for some fun.

Ms Gallaher said the generous gift would be put to good use, whether as the hospice's second mobility vehicle or sold to raise funds to buy other equipment.