NORTH East Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes last week welcomed Drumlithie resident and local fundraiser, Arma Iles, to the Scottish Parliament to hear the President of Malawi address MSPs.
Last year Mrs Iles, who is a lay preacher and active member of the local community, led an initiative that saw knitters across the north of Scotland knit 8000 jumpers for newborn babies in Malawi, many of whom are victims of HIV/AIDS.
Mrs Iles gave a knitting pattern to the congregation at her local church, St James in Stonehaven.
From there it spread and soon knitters across Scotland were sending Mrs Iles jumpers destined for the south-east African state which is one of the poorest countries in the world.
Mrs McInnes explained: “When I found out that the President of Malawi was coming to speak to the Scottish Parliament, I remembered the achievements of my consituent Mrs Iles.
‘‘Her efforts helped thousands of so-called ‘fish and chip babies’, children who would have otherwise been released from hospitals in Malawi wrapped in newspaper.”
She added: “I was pleased to welcome Mrs Iles and her husband Peter to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday for the President’s address and I was very interested to hear more about her valuable work.”
This was the first state visit to Scotland by the President of the Republic of Malawi, Joyce Banda, and it coincided with the bicentenary of the birth of David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer.