Champions of Change

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Champions of Change 2018

Unsung heroes from across Great Britain and Ireland were honoured at the fifth annual awards night in Cardiff on 18th May.

The awards recognise ordinary people doing extraordinary things through voluntary humanitarian service. They inspire and lead in communities at home and internationally. Awards are in two categories:

  • Champions of Change – members of Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland
  • Community Champions – members of the public nominated by their local Rotary club

From an impressive set of nominations 12 Rotarians and seven non Rotarians picked up their awards from National Council for Voluntary Organisations’ Chair Peter Kellner and RotaryGBI President Denis Spiller.

This year’s Awardees join around 50 other previous Champions who have worked tirelessly to champion change and do good to enhance lives.

Meet the 2018 winners below:

Champions of Change – International Category

Tony Clayson

Tony, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon has used his professional skills to implement the Sustainable Orthopaedic Trauma Services in Africa project.

He leads a small team of surgeons and ancillary nursing staff to Ethiopia, where local practitioners are trained and supplied with essential equipment them to perform operations. In less than two years, over 2,500 major operations have now been carried out locally. The project is backed by Worsley Rotary and the World Orthopaedic Concern UK.


Peter Croan

Peter’s outstanding work has provided life-changing medical facilities in rural areas of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Peter was instrumental in organising and delivering medical units to the countries, which provide breast-screening services, a mobile artificial limb clinic, a general clinic and polio immunisation centre.

The results have been incredible. Since May 2017, over 20,500 patients have visited the chest pain units, which have saved the lives of 1,247 people who have suffered cardiac arrest.


Patsy Dodd

Patsy has been recognised for her outstanding work to help deprived children in The Gambia. 10 years ago, Patsy saw for herself the needs of school children, health workers and patients and decided to find support and resources to improve their lives.

Had Patsy not intervened, many people in the country would not receive the education and care that they do today. Patsy self-funds two trips each year to keep up-to-date on progress.


Bob Parfitt

Back in the 1990s, Bob was moved to Croatia, where the war was just coming to an end, leaving a huge number of displaced people.

He organised convoys and sent aid consignments using road trains to a vast number of people living below the poverty line.

As if that wasn’t enough, Bob has helped equip a hospital in The Gambia and visited the town of Bansang to assess what is needed and has also been a trip to equip schools in Sierra Leone.


Alison Stedman

Alison will receive her award for her work to help children with HIV in Kenya.

In 2004 she started the life-changing charity COGRI-Nyumbani Trust, which raises funds to deliver care-based projects for over 4,000 HIV infected orphans in Nairobi, Kenya.


Alan Wolstencroft

12 years ago Alan visited Sierra Leone whilst volunteering – his trip was life changing. He now works tirelessly to help schools in the county develop.

The initial need was to reduce class sizes, as children were tightly crammed into rooms which often did not have any furniture.

Some classrooms were in makeshift buildings and were not always resistant to adverse weather conditions. A project to rebuild classrooms has now made it possible for children to continue with education into secondary school.


Norman Yates

Norman has been honoured for his efforts to help starving and orphaned children in Swaziland. 15 years ago, Norman founded Partners in Education Swaziland (PIES), following a trip where he saw children living on the streets, many of whom had lost parents to AIDS.

PIES feeds 180 children a day and provides pre-school education for over 40 children.

There are now two care centres operating in partnership with charity SOS Villages which provide a place for children to receive medical care and nutritious food.


Champions of Change – Home Category

Cormac Doyle

After Cormac completed 25 years’ military service, he recognised that there was a lack of clinical mental health treatment for armed forces veterans.

He founded The Bridge Charity to provide the specialist support. He has taken his work into HMP Oakwood and has also helped to develop a programme delivering mental health training to prisoners.


Michael Harvey

Michael will be awarded for his work to address social isolation in his community. He developed Bridging Generations an inter-generational programme.

The group works with six local assisted living facilities to plan events and engaging activities for the residents, including coffee and doughnut socials, jewellery making and bingo.

Older generations, who were at risk of isolation, are brought together with students twice a month to enjoy a chat and refreshments in Chichester College.


Sarah Newcombe

Homelessness is one of the biggest social problems in the UK today, something Sarah was keen to tackle with Street Kitchen.

She discovered that from Friday morning until Monday morning, there was no provision for homeless people. Visitors to the project find a warm place to rest where they receive a three-course balanced meal, food for the next day, sleeping bags, clean clothes as well as personal items such as toothbrushes, vitamins and more.


Daniel O’Reilly

Daniel has been recognised for his work at the Parents Accommodation Unit at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.

He wanted to repay the incredible care his son received at the hospital and with Rotary support, took on an ambitious project to revamp the hospital’s 45 rooms.

Daniel’s inspiring approach secured the skills of carpenters free of charge, including a former carpentry lecturer, who shared the plea with pupils, and successfully found volunteers to help with clean-up days and other physical work.


Tom Yendell

Tom is being honoured for his work to create the perfect holiday facilities. Recognising how difficult it is to find holiday accommodation with enough space, flat access and adapted equipment, Tom, who has physical disabilities, took action.

His idea was to create identical three-bedroomed holiday bungalows which will allow people with severe disabilities and their families to enjoy holidays.

Flat Spaces’ vision has become a reality and has received incredible backing. Tom has succeeded in raising £300,000 for the project, which is now being expanded to provide bungalows across the country.


Community Champions

Sean Bailey

Sean Bailey is being given the award for his work in creating the Cerebral Palsy United Football Club.

Sean suffered serious neck and spinal injuries playing football and thought he would never walk again. His determination to defy the odds means he has recovered, although is unable to run or play himself.

He therefore decided to put his energy and love into creating the club for anyone with cerebral palsy or brain injuries.

Sean invites football stars to training sessions and arranges visits to other stadiums to enhance his players’ experience.


Afolasade Bright

After spotting a significant number of elderly people in her area suffering, Afolasade set to work creating projects to support them.

In 2006, she set up The Pennu Charity, which has raised funds for a memory café and a recreational centre where many activities take place.

The charity’s events have also helped people to cope with key dates such as birthdays of lost loved ones, which can bring painful memories.


Paul Brooks

Paul is being honoured for his work in creating the North-West Blood Bikes service, the largest of its kind in the world.

Paul and his wife transformed a service with a small group of volunteers into a major charity which responds to calls from the NHS for blood supplies.

The team ride motorcycles to collect and deliver urgently needed blood, platelets, samples for analysis, medication, patient notes, small medical instruments and donor breast milk.


Howard Craven

Howard is being recognised for his work to help Parc Prison inmates to reclaim their lives. He experienced a difficult childhood which led to him taking drugs.

Punishments followed, and his life hit rock bottom. At the age of 36 he made the conscious decision to give back to the community and stay away from drugs.

He uses his experiences and delivers the You Can Change programme at the prison, which helps offenders realise change is possible and your past doesn’t have to dictate your future.


Pauline Craven

The Chernobyl disaster was one of the most devastating nuclear disasters ever.

Pauline joined forces with Alan Hilliar when heading for the Revival Centre, a rehabilitation unit in Ukraine. Revival is a 60 bed hospital, children’s and community centre supporting children who have suffered following the disaster.

In 2003, Pauline and Alan formed their own registered charity, delivering vans of donated aid to the centre four times per year. Since the centre opened, over 27,000 children have benefitted.


Roberta Lovick

Roberta will receive an award for her work with end of life care. When she sadly lost her daughter, Louise, she devoted her time to improving the care of families and patients facing end of life care.

Roberta believes that when a patient reached a point where they were told that there was nothing the hospital could do, something should fill that void. She works hard to make sure patients and carers are looked after until the end.

There are now 27 services available at the Louise Hamilton Centre, named after Roberta’s daughter.


Molly Rennie

Molly is being given the award for her work to raise awareness of domestic abuse.

After working with victims in her community, she set up the Dorchester Women’s Refuge, which has made a huge difference too many women.

Molly went on to establish more safe areas, with education programmes and support networks for victims of abuse. Her kind nature has helped women to move forward with their lives.


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It is so rewarding to be helping so many good causes and charities in our local community. Our club is always looking for new ways of helping others and no idea is too small or too large.”

- Dhiran Vagdia, Rotary Club of Coventry

Dhiran Vagdia, Rotary Club of Coventry
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