Charity leaders are Great Scots

Lesley Anderson arrives at No.10 for the Great Scot reception

Lesley Anderson arrives at No.10 for the Great Scot reception

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Two Midlothian women were at a special reception at 10 Downing Street recently recognising the work of Great Scots.

Prime Minister David Cameron invited representatives from business, the arts, the UK Armed Forces and sports world to the St Andrew’s Day event, which had a particular focus on community heroes and inspirational charity 
fundraisers.

Point of Light Awards, which recognise outstanding individual volunteers, were presented to Lesley Anderson from Penicuik, and Ann Maxwell from Eskbank, who were inspired by their children to focus on charity work.

Lesley lost her son Chris when he was stillborn at 29 weeks. In response she set up ComforTED as a way to help other parents of stillborn babies through their bereavement. ComforTED provides a pair of handmade teddies – one to be buried with the baby and one for parents to keep. Lesley has now sent more than 900 pairs of teddies around the world.

She said: “It is an honour to have been invited to the St Andrew’s Day reception at No.10. To receive this type of recognition underlines how small gestures can make a huge difference. ComforTED has been received well here in Scotland and many other countries in the world.”

Ann co-founded the Muir Maxwell Trust to help and support families of children with epilepsy. The Musselburgh-based trust – named after Ann’s son, who was diagnosed with epilepsy at four months old – has raised £8 million since it was set up in 2003.

The mum of three, who was awarded the OBE earlier this year, added: “It is fantastic to be invited to an event that celebrates the best of Scotland on St Andrew’s Day.

“For me, it means that our work at the Muir Maxwell Trust continues to have an impact in Scotland and across the UK and that is something to be proud of. That said, it is also a humbling reminder that addressing the serious health and quality of life issues caused by epilepsy is a fight we must constantly pursue for those who are profoundly affected by this devastating condition.”

Mr Cameron said: “There are some amazing people here to celebrate, winners of Points of Light Awards, people who’ve done extraordinary things in their communities, setting up healthcare systems in Zambia, trying to help other people through the trauma of cancer.”