A Moray mum who helped raise £100,000 for cancer charities, following her daughter’s diagnosis with the illness, has been chosen to attend the opening of the Scottish Parliament as a guest of honour.
Sam Simpson has been selected as the region’s “local hero”, following an appeal from Moray MSP Richard Lochhead, who sought to find someone who typifies all that is good about the area.
The 39-year-old was nominated by a friend, and Mr Lochhead said the application stood out among dozens of strong entries.
Mrs Simpson’s daughter, Isla, was diagnosed with the high-risk childhood cancer neuroblastoma when she was five-months-old in April, 2009.
As Isla battled the condition, Mrs Simpson became determined to launch fundraising efforts on her behalf.
The youngster went into remission in 2014, but the dedicated fundraiser continued her efforts beyond that point – embarking on numerous gruelling charity treks.
She said: “Isla’s diagnosis inspired me to make efforts for cancer charities, mostly Logan’s Fund which is based in Lossiemouth.
“We have achieved a lot, but when I heard about being named as Moray’s ‘local hero’ I was in a state of disbelief.”
The Newmill mother, who works as a learning support teacher at Buckie High School, met Mr Lochhead in Elgin yesterday to learn about the upcoming day out.
Mrs Simpson will be ushered to Edinburgh to participate in the Scottish Parliament’s opening events on Saturday, July 2.
The day out will include spectating as the Queen addresses MSPs in the parliament chambers.
Mr Lochhead added: “The opening ceremony is an opportunity for MSPs to recognise local heroes in every constituency.
“After I issued the appeal, I was inundated with incredible stories about people who have contributed so much to life in Moray.
“But I was struck by the nomination for Mrs Simpson, who is clearly a special lady.
“She has done a great deal for charity, and has personal qualities that sum up the best of Moray.”