Top charity award 
for Ellon volunteer

Gail McKeitch after receiving her charity champion award.
Gail McKeitch after receiving her charity champion award.

An Ellon volunteer has won a top national charity award.

Gail McKeitch has been honoured for her work in the town with the National Autistic Society Scotland (NAS).

Gail, who has two sons with autism, won the charity champion category of the 2014 
Scottish Charity Awards.

The awards, organised by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, celebrate the vital work of charities, community groups 
and individuals.

Gail is volunteer branch officer for NAS’s Ellon branch and has raised more than £15,000 for the group since 2008 - ensuring that all funds raised go towards supporting local people with autism and their families.

She said: “I am in amazing company, so I am particularly humbled and honoured to have won this fantastic award.

“My sons have autism and they have opened up a whole new world for me.

“I hope this award helps shine a light on the 58,000 people with autism in Scotland, many of whom struggle daily to access the same opportunities most of us take for granted.”

NAS branch support officer Siobhan Hogg praised Gail for finding the time, energy, expertise and dedication to volunteer.

She said: “Gail is a powerhouse and makes a daily, positive difference to the lives of more than 100 local people affected by autism.

“By reaching out robustly to the wider Ellon community, she increases local understanding of the complex condition.”

Local MSPs Alex Salmond and Christian Allard congratulated Gail on her achiement.

Mr Salmond, Aberdeenshire East MSP, said: “She has done some fantastic work in the Aberdeenshire East constituency for people affected by autism.

“Caring for people with condition can be both challenging and rewarding. Gail has worked hard as a volunteer for the National Autistic Society and thoroughly deserves to be named a charity champion.”

North East MSP Mr Allard added: “It is great that Gail has been rewarded for her efforts helping improve the lives of people who are affected by autism.

“Many people in the region will have a relative who has the condition so the work of volunteers like Gail in helping them cope is valuable and very much appreciated.”

Mr Allard has also tabled a motion to the Scottish Parliament welcoming her achievement.