Citizen of the year

One of the privileges of being a councillor is getting to meet so many fantastic people who, at a community level, do fantastic work in the city.  This evening, I am delighted to be joining the Lord Provost in an event to mark the granting of the William Y Darling Award for Citizenship to Tracy Rendall.  Below is the speech I made in nominating Tracy for the award for full Council back in June.

The purpose of the William Y Darling award is to recognise citizens who, through their actions do most for the honour and welfare of the city.

I’m sure we can all agree that all of the nominees today bring enormous credit to our city.

Some are eminent and well-recognised in their chosen field of expertise as professors or professionals.

But I believe this award is our chance to shine a light on citizens who do enormous work in our communities but who neither work in the spotlight nor seek it out.

So I cannot think of anyone better in that respect than Tracy Rendall.

I first came across Tracy in 2008, on a training course for chairs of parent councils, and met her regularly after that at various events where she represented her children’s school, which is Craigentinny Primary School.

But because Tracy never highlights her many passions, only gradually did I find out just how much of a whirlwind she is.

She and her husband Stuart manage their own business, designing and installing kitchens. They have 4 children, two of whom have disabilities: Jos, who has Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and Beau who has Spina Bifida. Earlier this year, members of Education Children and Families Committee received a thank you letter from Tracy for her son Beau’s trip to one of the council’s outdoor centres, Lagganlia in the Cairngorms and heard how, despite his disability, Beau had been able, for the first time in his life, to climb a tree and be in a canoe. As Tracy says in that letter

I just wanted to say a huge thank you from Beau and myself for making a little boy very happy. That is probably the biggest understatement imaginable as you didn’t just make him happy, you have changed his life forever.

Now, Tracy is still chair of the PTA at Craigentinny PS and she is also on the PTA of Leith Academy and the Family Council for Craigentinny.

She was one of the founders of Scottish Network for Arthritis in Children and serves as its secretary. She is chair of the parent group for the Sick Kids Hospital and leads from the front in that role, volunteering and raising funds for Sick Kids, often dressed as PJ Bear, running in races on appearing at events.

In short, Tracy is a phenomenon who never talks about being a phenomenon. Her tireless work supports her own family, of course, but also her own community and a network of children from across Edinburgh and Scotland.

Maybe today we need more than one William Y Darling Award. But we only have one. And I hope you agree with me that Tracy Rendall deserves the spotlight this time.