Michael Eavis, creator of the world famous Glastonbury Festival, is helping to raise awareness of the care provided by St. Margaret’s Hospice after becoming a patron of the charity.

The successful farmer and businessman is the latest high profile figure from Somerset to lend his support to the charity, which last year cared for 3,800 people across the county.

Mr Eavis praised the “marvellous job” done by more than 350 staff and 1,200 volunteers at St. Margaret’s Hospice, thanking them for the work they do.

He added: “I have a son who is a GP and he said to me that the work of the hospices was quite amazing. He knows about caring for patients who are ill, so I thought this is something that’s really worth supporting.”

Glastonbury Festival, which will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2020, has put Somerset on the map for a global audience of music fans.

Photo: Mark Tierney

“I was born in Somerset and fortunately my festival turned out to be very successful – I don’t quite know why,” said Mr Eavis. “We push the boat out on the show and try to make it better every year. Now 48 years later, we have three million people signed up who want to come, which is incredible.

“People like to come from right across the world, which is a privilege. Pilton is only a small village, but it’s made its mark.

“The festival brings £100m into Somerset every year – that’s a huge thing for the local economy, and it brings in loads of jobs. Within 15 miles of this site, you don’t need to be out of a job.”

Mr Eavis is equally proud of his thriving dairy farm.

“This has been a milk producing farm in my family for over 160 years,” he said. “I have a great team of people farming here and we won UK Dairy Farm of the Year three years ago, which is one of the highest accolades I’ve ever had. My father and grandfather would have been very proud of that.”

Clare Gallie, director of fundraising, marketing and communications at St. Margaret’s Hospice, pictured with Michael, above, said: “Glastonbury Festival makes an enormous contribution to Somerset, culturally and economically, so we are delighted to have the support of Michael Eavis as a patron to help raise awareness of the role St. Margaret’s Hospice plays in making each day count for families across the county who are affected by a life-limiting illness.”

Mr Eavis joins a distinguished group of St. Margaret’s Hospice patrons which includes: The Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock; Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset Annie Maw; the Right Reverend Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton; Countess de Salis; Lady Gass; Jane Barrie, Independent Chairman of the South of England Local Education and Training Board; popular BBC Radio Bristol presenter Emma Britton and her dog Billy the Beagle.

After NHS funding, the charity needs to raise over £9.5m this year to deliver high quality, responsive and compassionate care to patients, their families and carers across the county.