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Women who served their communities in Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency honoured as local heroes in Scottish Parliament


By Val Sweeney

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Rona Matheson with her daughter Sarah.
Rona Matheson with her daughter Sarah.

Two Highland women described as "inspirational" have been honoured in the Scottish Parliament for serving their local communities.

Rona Matheson and Julie-Ann Flett were nominated as local heroes for the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency by MSP Kate Forbes.

The pair attended the parliament's official opening by the Queen.

Mrs Matheson is the community fundraiser for the Haven Appeal which is developing Scotland’s first integrated centre in Inverness for children and young adults with multiple and complex needs.

Mrs Matheson, who lives in Muir of Ord, has four daughters, the youngest of whom has epilepsy and complex needs.

Mrs Flett, of Kirkhill, is a local carer and organised and ran the Community Kindness Kirkhill, Kiltarlity, Beauly and Muir of Ord group during the coronavirus pandemic.

She briefly met the Queen who addressed the Holyrood chamber.

Julie-Ann Flett with husband, James.
Julie-Ann Flett with husband, James.

Although Ms Forbes was unable to be present at Holyrood for the ceremony after testing positive for Covid-19, her enforced self-isolation meant that both women could be accompanied by their husbands at the big occasion.

"Both women are renowned for working behind the scenes to care for others," Ms Forbes said.

"They would both be embarrassed at being called inspirational or heroic but to many people that is exactly what they are.

"It is impossible to identify only one hero in the Highlands, so many people have served their communities with distinction over the last 18 months.

"Rona Matheson has been instrumental in supporting the development of and fundraising for the Haven.

"This will be one of the most vitally important facilities for young people and their families in the Highlands.

"She has done everything, from hosting bake sales to wild swimming, to raise money. She has done all of that whilst supporting her own local community and family through difficult times.

"Julie-Ann Flett has supported numerous people since the very beginning of the pandemic, doing everything from delivering vital medication to picking up groceries.

"It has been a long slog, but Julie-Ann and her team have kept in touch with people and supported them through isolation and loneliness. She has touched many lives."

Inverness health campaigner meets the Queen as she is honoured in Scottish Parliament


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