Family remembers BBC worker Kate Mitchell ‘who brightened world’on November 24, 2021 at 6:12 am

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Kate Mitchell, who was found dead in Kenya, dedicated herself to helping others, her brother says.

Kate Mitchell

Image source, Peter Mitchell

The brother of a BBC staff member found dead in Kenya has paid tribute to her “extraordinary drive and energy”.

Peter Mitchell said his sister Kate, who worked for the BBC Media Action charity, had an “enormous dedication” to helping communities across Africa.

Police say they are investigating the circumstances of the death of the 42-year-old.

Mr Mitchell said: “She didn’t just make the world a brighter place by being in it. She materially improved it.”

BBC Media Action is the corporation’s international charity focussed on using media and communication to address inequality around the world.

Ms Mitchell, who grew up in Whitley Bay in the north-east of England, most recently worked for the charity’s office in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

She was found dead at a hotel in Kenya’s capital Nairobi on Friday.

Speaking to the BBC, her brother said: “Everywhere she went from Zambia, South Sudan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, she was always managing projects and securing funding and making things work.”

He said his sister had a “supernatural ability to charm people and become everyone’s friend”.

“Everyone has been very supportive,” he said. “She had friends all around the world – I’m hearing from people I have never heard of… who loved her.”

Mr Mitchell remembered his sister as having a particular interest in refugees, the health of women and their welfare, and young people.

She was, he said, an “enormously courageous person always willing to do the hardest possible jobs in some very hard places”.

The last funding application Ms Mitchell made was successful and will benefit an education project in Ethiopia.

Mr Mitchell said: “She sadly didn’t get to hear that she got that grant. It came through over the weekend after she died. But that’s a small final victory.”

Kate Mitchell, Peter Mitchell

Mr Mitchell earlier urged people to ignore speculation in the press and on social media about his sister’s death.

He said he last spoke to his sister, along with their mother, a few days before her death.

“For us the priority is bringing Kate home,” he added. “Everyone in the community has been wonderful. We’ve had more food dropped on our doorstep than we can even eat – we are receiving miles of flowers and cards.”

In a statement, BBC Media Action CEO Caroline Nursey said Kate was a much-loved member of staff and had been with the charity for 14 years.

She said she was well known across the whole organisation, especially by teams in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Zambia and London.

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