Local News for Thursday 12th July

Leanne Fund Founder From Stornoway Honoured With British Citizen Award
Chrisetta Mitchell from Stornoway lost her daughter, Leanne at the age of 21 to Cystic Fibrosis (CF) 9 years ago. Together with her husband William, she set up The Leanne Fund, to provide support to CF sufferers and their families across the Highlands and Islands, because throughout Leanne’s illness, no such support had been available to them. Living with CF impacts daily on the lives of sufferers and their families, now for her work to help those affected by the illness Chrisetta has been recognised nationally with a British Citizen Award for Volunteering.

From 2010 to 2016, The Leanne Fund was run on a voluntary basis by Chrisetta from home, whilst she was still employed full time. For six years Chrisetta worked in the evenings and weekends, to establish a charity she knew would benefit so many people.
Such was the level of hard work put in by Chrisetta and the scale of The Leanne’s Fund achievements, that in 2016 The Leanne Fund received Big Lottery funding, allowing the charity to employ a full time Development Manager.
Since 2010 over £400,000 has been raised by The Leanne Fund. When a CF family is in need The Leanne Fund now has the resource available to contribute to the practical and financial support that is such a negative impact of the illness.
Chrisetta was one of 29 medalists who were honoured at a prestigious ceremony last week, at the Palace of Westminster.
Chrisetta said she was proud and honoured to accept the award on behalf of her Husband, Family, Friends everyone who is part of The Leanne Fund and would like to dedicate it to Leanne and others affected by CF who, like her, have been taken too soon.”

Birds Flock Back to Islands
Terns, waders, divers and ducks are ‘flocking back’ to their native Outer Hebrides, following the success of a complex and challenging 17-year programme to eradicate the American mink and its devastating effect on native wildlife.

Scottish Natural Heritage Area Manager for Argyll and the Outer Hebrides, David Maclennan said: “Invasive species are one of the greatest threats to the beauty and variety of our nature. But the Hebridean Mink Project shows that we can take on invasive species – and win. It is fantastic to start welcoming back our native species. A range of factors are likely to be at play, but local people are telling us that a mink free Outer Hebrides is having a hugely positive effect on wildlife and the economy.”

The introduction of mink in Scotland has been directly connected to the fur farming industry established in the 1950s. In the Outer Hebrides fur farms on the Isle of Lewis went out of business in the 1960’s and feral populations quickly became established. Small scale control operations carried out by sporting estates and an attempt by SNH to prevent the mink population spreading south had limited effect.
By 1999 breeding populations of mink were established on North Uist and Benbecula. To date, 2,198 mink have been caught, with only two non-breeding females and associated males caught in Lewis and Harris in the last 18 months.