A Rotarian has become one of only three people in the UK to receive the club’s highest accolade.
George Blenkinship of West Bradford has achieved the rare distinction of being presented with the “Service
Above Self’’ honour for spearheading a humanitarian project in Nepal.
The award is given by Rotary International in America who assess the accomplishments of outstanding rotarians across the world. And from a pool of exceptional candidates George was chosen as the judges felt that his exceptional efforts embodied the rotarian motto “service above self.’’
George led a campaign to raise over £50,000 to build a water pumping system and new toilet block for the only school in the remote village of Maikot in the Gorkha region.
Perched on a hill the villagers were forced to make a one -hour round trip daily to collect water from a spring at the bottom of a steep hill.
Thanks to George, and fellow Rotarians from the Church and Oswaldtwistle Club where he is a member, clean water is now pumped directly into the village.
George visited the area himself after getting in touch with the Rotary Club in Gorka to see what he could do to help.
George’s magnificent fund- raising efforts included a grand function at Ewood Park that made over £9,000 and George and his wife Sally also cycled from Vienna to Prague to raise money. The work began over a year ago and the project was halfway through but in a twist of fate the Nepal earthquake struck and Maikot was at the epicentre and the school and many houses were badly damaged.
George was again on hand to help and despite many villagers losing their homes, their main request was help to build temporary classrooms at nine schools in the region so that children would continue with their learning.
Again with the help of other Rotary clubs George raised a further £12,000 which enabled Gorkha Rotary Club to build 36 basic temporary classrooms within two months of the earthquake and before the monsoon season. At the end of the monsoon season work restarted and the project is now complete.