Today (Monday) is a very sad day for Cancer Research campaigners and the rest of the community in Lewis as the news broke that local Cancer Research chairperson, Kay Mackay, sadly passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“Kay was respected and loved by the Committee and her constant motivation to fundraise for CRUK was inspirational. Our thoughts are with Jackie, Gregor, Roger, Sophie and her brother Malcolm at this time,” said Cancer Research UK Isle of Lewis Committee on their Facebook Page.
According to members of her family on Facebook, her wake is on Wednesday evening at St Columba's Church in Stornoway at 9pm. The Funeral will be at St Columba's Church at 1.30pm on Thursday with a Funeral Reception in the Caladh Inn after the procession.
Only last month Kay MacKay told EVENTS newspaper how she was ‘overwhelmed’ to be awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for her work with the Cancer Research UK Isle of Lewis Committee.
Former nurse Kay dedicated over 35 years to fundraising for Cancer Research UK with the Isle of Lewis Committee.
Established in October 1975, Kay joined the Lewis Committee in 1980 and became a driving force behind one of the most successful fundraising committees for the charity throughout Scotland.
Under her leadership as Chair, the local Committee has progressed from raising an average of £2,000 in the 1980s to an average of £70,000 annually for Cancer Research UK.
And as Committee members celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015, the island branch had contributed over £1million since committed fundraising began on Lewis in 1975.
During her tenure, Kay has also boosted the Committee membership to 35 active and dedicated ladies, equally as passionate about raising funds for Cancer Research UK through a number of events, including the immensely popular annual Ladies Lunch and the Blones Do Ben Nevis hill climb challenge, as well as door-to-door collections and bake sales.
She told EVENTS newspaper in January: “Receiving the MBE is an honour for me, but it is also for the Committee and the island.
“The reason we are so successful is that people are so generous here. We send away around £70,000 to Cancer Research UK each year and for the past three or four years we’ve sent more money than any other Committee in Scotland.”
Indeed, from a remote island community of only around 17,500 residents, £70,000 equates to an average donation of £4 per person – and Kay was honoured by the charity in 2015 when she was awarded the Cancer Research UK Fundraising in the Community Flame of Hope Award.
Introducing her at the 2015 award ceremony, Cancer Research UK chief executive Sir Harpal Kumar said: “Without Kay the Isle of Lewis Committee would not be what it is today.
“The success of the Committee is down to her outstanding drive, determination and commitment. She is constantly encouraging others in her own community to get involved with the Committee and is always ready to get involved with fundraising events herself.
“Her unfaltering dedication and passion for the work of Cancer Research UK means that she is an amazing ambassador for the charity.”
(This article has been updated since first being posted to include the funeral details)