Larne charity founder receives Points of Light award from Prime Minister

A Larne woman who set up a charity to support people across East Antrim with mental health and suicide prevention services has received Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily Points of Light award.

Carlee Letson founded ‘Every Life Matters NI Suicide Prevention Larne’ after her brother Arthur took his own life at the age of 34 in 2006.

Following the shock of her brother’s loss, Carlee decided to launch her own charity to improve mental health services in the area, as well as train professionally as an intervention counsellor.

Since the charity’s inception in 2007, Carlee has helped over 3,000 thousand people, offering her support and listening ear, and helping to signpost individuals in need to further services, particularly during the pandemic, when she has supported hundreds of people with mental health issues.

Carlee Letson.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis welcomed Carlee’s award. “Since her own tragic loss, Carlee’s selfless dedication to improving mental health services for her community has brought hope to many in need of support in difficult times,” he said.

“The charity she founded has proven to be a beacon of support to thousands of people, and, as she continues with this amazing work, I congratulate her on being a very worthy recipient of the Prime Minister’s Points of Light award.”

Sammy Wilson, MP for East Antrim also congratulated Carlee on her award through the Points of Light programme. “I remember the first time Carlee spoke to me after the tragic suicide of her brother," he said.

"She was devastated but was determined to remember him by doing something positive to prevent others who were stumbling down the dark road of despair from facing the same fate as her brother and causing the same despair their family have experienced.

“She fought hard for premises in Larne, assembled volunteers and has continued her dedicated service for nearly 15 years.

“This award is well deserved and I have no doubt that many lives have been saved by her vision and commitment and wish her all the best for the work she will continue in the future.”

Carlee added: “I am absolutely delighted that I could be recognised in such a manner as to receive an award from the Prime Minister. I see myself as just an ordinary person and volunteer trying to do a service and save lives in our community. Thank you so much for this amazing acknowledgment.”

Carlee is the 1828th person to receive the Prime Minister’s UK daily Points of Light award, which was first launched in April 2014 to recognise outstanding individuals making a difference where they live.

Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements, including hundreds of volunteers who have been recognised for how they have served their communities through the coronavirus pandemic.