UPLIFTING messages from strangers have been discovered by hospital staff, patients and their families.

Crocheters in Bolton are leaving loving surprises for people most in need, handing out ‘random acts of crochet kindness’.

Knitted rings, decorated with butterflies and colourful buttons, were found scattered across the grounds of the Royal Bolton Hospital.

Each ring featured messages filled with love.

One was found by health care assistant Tracy Morris who works at the Evergreen Suite, caring for patients with breast cancer. Attached to it was a label which read: “When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark, look for stars.”

For Ms Morris, the message came at an emotional time in her life, with her daughter currently facing major surgery.

Ms Morris said: “I’ve been very stressed as my daughter is awaiting a heart transplant. When I found this I was so touched – I can’t describe just how I felt, happy and emotional at the same time. I was in tears. I’d really like to thank whoever left it.”

Evergreen manager Andrea McCann found another.

She said: “It was just outside the unit. It was so lovely to find it – to think that someone spent the time to make it. It really made my day.”

Another crochet ring found had the message: “Just a little friendship ring made by me to say, I hope that all your dreams come true and today’s a perfect day.”

The rings came from Facebook community group Random Acts of Crochet Kindness, whose members drop them around towns across the UK to cheer people up.

A number of the group members live in Bolton, and rings have appeared in the likes of Horwich Library, the Pine Tree Farm pub and even a shopping trolley in Asda. A little blue flower was discovered at The Range with the message: “Don’t try to be perfect — just try to be kind.”

The shopper who found the gift said: “It’s amazing how something so small could make you smile when you need to."