THE manager of a day centre for the elderly who has dedicated herself to caring for others was presented with a Local Hero award at a star-studded ceremony.

Fiona Mitchell has worked at Harlawhill Day Care Centre, Prestonpans, for 25 years and was described at the Radio Forth Awards as “inspirational”. Her success (pictured) was even raised in a motion at Holyrood by East Lothian MSP Iain Gray, who passed on his congratulations following the awards at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall last Thursday.

He said: “I was delighted to see Fiona receive a well deserved award as Forth Local Hero and wanted to acknowledge her success in Parliament. She is one of those people who through their dedication and commitment to a good cause make an outstanding contribution to their community.

“In her case that contribution has been over a 25-year period and has helped make a huge difference to the lives of so many local older people.”

Fiona’s husband Craig said she had no idea she had been nominated until she received a call inviting her to the ceremony.

Craig revealed Fiona is so dedicated to supporting the centre both in her management and fundraising, that she turned their engagement party and hen and stag parties into opportunities to raise money for the centre by charging guests an entry fee and holding fundraisers through the events.

She even insisted they had their wedding twice – once for family and friends, and a second time for her Harlawhill Day Centre ‘family’ – so no-one missed out on her big day.

Craig said: “What I have seen of Fiona since we met is an unbelievably kind and caring person who almost always puts the needs and wants of others above her own. She always stresses that it is the team there who work together to make it such a special place and that is a fact. But it’s not just the things that she does within her work which set her apart; it’s the additional things that she does out with normal hours to improve the service users’ quality of time at the centre that makes her special.

“Any time there is a gathering of more than 10 people, Fiona sees an opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause. She has participated in two ‘Walk With Scotts’ to raise money for the day centre and other charities.

“About her ‘Local Hero’ award, “Fiona was asked what the most memorable part and how did she feel about receiving it, her answer was all about the other award winners. and how incredible and worthy they were

“She said that the most memorable part was meeting and chatting to Doddie Weir about their remarkable common pal Scott Glynn, who won the same award last year.

“She is my absolute total local hero.”