North Connel mum shortlisted for Great Scot Award

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A  mum-of-two from North Connel who raised thousands to help Yazidi refugees in Iraq has been nominated for a Great Scot Award.

Fiona Bennett helped acquire £300,000 worth of medical supplies and raised £14,000 to ship them over to Iraq.

Mrs Bennett wanted to help the Yazidi people after the Islamic State terror group attacked them in 2014, killing hundreds, and forcing many women into sexual slavery.

She works with Yazda, a global Yazidi organisation that works to bring justice, sustenance, healing and restoration to Yazidis.
With her friend Faith Orr, the pair have already jumped out of a plane to raise money and are planning on visiting Iraq to volunteer for two weeks in the future. The former psychiatric nurse is one of 10 finalists, five of whom will receive an Unsung Hero Award and one of whom will be crowned the Great Scot of 2018.

The ceremony will take place on Saturday October 27 at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Glasgow Central.

Speaking about the news, Mrs Bennett, a human resources manager in Oban, said: ‘It feels a little bittersweet – it’s very nice, but the reason is very tragic.’

Last year, she arranged for Nadia Murad, who recently received the Nobel Peace Prize for campaigning against rape in warfare, to come to the UK for the first time. Alongside Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O’Hara, Mrs Bennett arranged several meetings for Ms Murad in Westminster.

‘From there we have stayed in touch,’ the North Connel mum said. ‘I am unbelievably emotional and proud. I can’t describe it.

‘It [the Nobel Prize] is so deserved and so good that she has been recognised for this.

‘[This is] for all Yazidis, minorities and victims of war crimes and sexual crimes against women during war.

‘She just seems to fragile when you are with her, but the strength and determination in her is unlike anything I have ever seen in anyone.’

Ms Murad, who survived sexual slavery by ISIS, received the award alongside fellow campaigner Denis Mukwege.