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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
14th August
2008


Well this week got off to a flying start with me in the Constituency office dealing with issues in the area and arranging to meet with constituents to support them with problems they are experiencing. Sometimes it feels like there is a mountain to climb but I have been blessed by great staff members who seem to be able to get on top of the pile of mail and the emails that come to the office everyday. I wouldn’t want them to know this but sometimes I wonder what I would do without them.

Monday night had me back in Edinburgh at the Festival. I had been asked to present the Nivea Funny Women Fringe Award at the Pleasance Dome. The 3 finalists had all been winners in their individual categories. 

    ·       Best stand-up, individual act   -   Janie Godley.
    ·       Best sketch, character or theatrical show  - Angry Puppy.
    ·       Best newcomer -  Pippa Evans and other lonely people.

The Fringe Award was created by Funny Women in 2007 to recognise women in comedy and to highlight the imbalance of female nominations and winners in the mainstream awards which are a feature of the Edinburgh Fringe.  Every year increasing numbers of strong female-led shows appear at the Fringe, wide in range and diversity.

Funny Women was started in 2002 by Lynne Parker as a platform to find and celebrate female comedy talent. Funny Women raises funds and awareness for a variety of causes that aim to help and heal women. This includes Ovarian cancer action which raises awareness and funds research into ovarian cancer, and is part of the Helen Harris Memorial Trust which is dedicated to defeating ovarian cancer. Visit: www.ovarian.org.uk for email info@ovarian.org.uk or more details Beneficiary charities include YWCA, Jo’s Trust, Bristol Cancer Care Centre, ActionAid and V-Day: Until the Violence Stops.

 Funny Women has raised over £80,000 for charity in the past five years and  has taken part at the Edinburgh Fringe for five years, running various events including a theatrical production, a series of workshops and regular stand up show in addition to the Funny Women Fringe Award.

The 2008 Funny Women Fringe Award is sponsored by NIVEA, who ethos is Beauty is Laughter.

Well there was plenty of laughter that night and it was certainly a fantastic way to raise funds for good causes and to raise the profile of a fantastic event. I was delighted to present the £1000 prize to Janey Godley who new how to use humour in the face of adversity. Women's humour has played a significant role in Scotland's cultural identity over the generations.

I believe that Scottish women who have faced challenging situations in their everyday lives have often survived poverty and oppression because of their humour.

Another visit I had this week was to the Red Cross Tracing Service, the International Tracing and Messaging Service helps families, separated by conflict or natural disaster, to restore contact with each other.

I was very interested to hear from the Volunteers who work there about the work they undertake to support people who are seeking asylum, refugees and people who want to make contact with someone they have lost that contact with. It was heartening to hear that most of the volunteers where people who had accessed and used the service in the past thus bringing real life experience which can be the best kind of support to someone seeking the help pf this service. I can not think of anything more harrowing than being split up from family members and not knowing where they are.

Below is a picture of me with some of the Volunteers.

Well I'm off now because as I speak the message alert is flashing like mad so back to answering emails for me. Have a great week.


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