Chrisetta and Willie Mitchell, from Point, were at the Palace of Westminster on Thursday July 5th as Chrisetta received her British Citizen Award for the work she does with the Leanne Fund. The award recognises individuals who do extraordinary things in their local community, and is run by a committee including patron Sarah, Duchess of York.
The Leanne Fund was founded in 2009 in memory of Chrisetta and Willie’s daughter Leanne, who died from Cystic Fibrosis when she was 21 years old.
Based in Lewis, it is now the foremost Cystic Fibrosis charity in Scotland, working across the Highlands, Islands and Grampian to give social, practical, emotional and financial help to people with Cystic Fibrosis and their families.
As well as founding and volunteering with the charity, Chrisetta became their first development worker when they opened permanent premises on Point Street in Stornoway two years ago.
She organises and is at the heart of the fund’s events, including the Point 5k, collections at supermarkets across Scotland and this year’s first Golden Eagle duathlon in Harris next week.
Chrisetta received her award at a presentation ceremony in Westminster hosted by Lord Dholakia. The award recognises her contribution to volunteering, especially the way she has lobbied others to promote good causes and championed new ways of developing support for the charity.
Lord Dholakia said: “There are many people in communities across the UK who are positively contributing to the lives of those around them. Their contributions often go unnoticed, can sometimes be taken for granted, and are rarely recognised.
"The British Citizen Awards is a way for the nation to thank these special people. By recognising the good work that these people are doing we may inspire others to do the same.”
Navnit Dholakia, Baron Dholakia, OBE, PC, DL is a British Liberal Democrat politician and the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.
The British Citizen Awards (BCAs) were launched in January 2015, to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society. BCAs are awarded twice annually, and recognise ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked.
Chrisetta was one of 29 medalists honoured. All BCA recipients have selflessly undertaken various activities in support of a number of worthy causes. Each received a Medal of Honour, inscribed with the words ‘For the Good of the Country’. Medalists are also able to use the initials BCA after their name.
Speaking about her nomination, Chrisetta said: “I really don’t need any award or recognition for what I do, just knowing the difference that the Fund makes to those we support is reward enough. I’m honoured to have been nominated but The Leanne Fund is only where it is because of the amazing support of my husband, family and friends and the hard work of our dedicated Board and supporters who share in our vision to make a difference for those affected by Cystic Fibrosis.”
Pat Egan, Group Executive Director of Affordable Housing for Places for People, who presented the medal said: “The British Citizen Award shines a spotlight on the tremendous work of everyday people for the benefit of their communities. I am always taken aback by the commitment and selflessness shown by medalists, and this year has been no exception. It’s very rewarding to meet such exceptional individuals and recognise the vital role they play in the success of communities up and down the country.”
The awards are sponsored by the world’s largest optical retailer, Specsavers; one of the largest property and leisure management, development and regeneration companies in the UK, Places for People; and worldwide leader in IT and networking, Cisco. Each had representatives at the medal presentation ceremony which was hosted by TV Presenter and host, Michael Underwood who stated: “Having presented the very first British Citizen Awards, it was a real honour to be invited back and a privilege to meet the incredible people being recognised for their contribution to society”.
(This report has been updated with additional information since first being posted.)