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Published 10th Jan 2012

Mayor Ray Mallon with Catherine Haigh

A voluntary worker is this week named as Middlesbrough’s Citizen of the Year in recognition of her tireless campaigning on mental health issues.

Catherine Haigh becomes the latest recipient of the prestigious award for her efforts to tackle stigma and discrimination.

Catherine received her award at a special ceremony in the Town Hall.

Dawn Downey, of Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind, nominated Catherine for the accolade, and spoke of her tireless work to champion mental health issues, confront stigma and improve the lives of others.

She said: “Catherine is an amazing individual and one of the most caring, enthusiastic and passionate people I have ever met.

“She uses her experience of mental health issues and services to campaign tirelessly to tackle stigma and discrimination and to make a positive difference.”

Catherine’s work spans the statutory, voluntary and community sectors in Middlesbrough, focusing on user and carer issues.

She campaigns on behalf of the town’s Hearts and Minds group to break down discrimination in relation to mental health issues.

Dawn added: “Catherine is a fantastic role model and citizen who tackles injustice and asks thought-provoking questions.

“She gives all her time on a voluntary basis and is unstinting in her values and beliefs in relation to mental health service user and carer involvement.

“We need more Catherines in this world to make it a better place.”

Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon, said: “There’s been a lot of talk about the Big Society in recent times, but actions really do speak louder than words.

“Catherine is a fantastic example of someone who truly cares about the community she lives in and gives freely of her time to make it a better place for all.

“Her selfless contribution is truly an example to others and makes her a very worthy recipient of this award.”

Useful links

Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind

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