Warrington Rotarian Irene Russell has been honoured at the House of Lords with Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland’s Champions of Change award for her outstanding work in helping starving communities in Kenya.
Rotarian Russell was chosen to receive the award after working together with her husband, Eric, to raise funding and volunteers to carry out a two-day meal-packing event to dispatch 100,000 meals to Nairobi, Kenya to starving communities.
After having attended a meal-packing event at RI Convention in Brazil in 2015, Irene and her husband endeavoured to raise the £25,000 needed to send 100,000 meals abroad to those in desperate need. Undeterred by the challenge, the couple spent months collaborating with other clubs and eventually achieved their goal with a two-day meal-packing event that included more than 500 volunteers.
Irene joined 10 other previously unsung Rotary heroes to receive her award at a ceremony hosted by Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, Baroness Harris of Richmond, who told Rotarians and guests: “The reputation of Rotary goes before you with your extraordinary work and we are very privileged to have you here in the Palace of Westminster.”
Former Secretary of State and Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Hague of Richmond, congratulated each recipient in presenting the awards. He said Rotarians should be extremely proud of their work.
Having met the previous week with Bill Gates he said he was aware of the work his Foundation did with Rotary to help towards the eradication of polio.
“Together you have contributed more to the health of the people of the world than many nations,” he added.
Nominations for the awards were in two categories — domestic and international — and were invited from across Rotary’s 26 districts, which take in 1,800 clubs and 50,000 members. Winners’ projects ranged from supporting communities in disaster struck Nepal to challenging the way the disabled are treated by British authorities.
President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland Eve Conway, who has been championing polio funding-raising during her year, thanked the Rotarians for all they had done to boost the End Game and praised the Awardees for their work within the Rotary organisation.
For more information about Rotary’s Champions of Change awards visit: http://www.rotarygbi.org