At a club Rotary meeting held on the 9th November, 2015 George Blenkinship was awarded by District Governor Arthur Jones the coveted ‘Paul Harris Fellowship’ award, and an illuminated certificate from the Rotary Organisation in England and Ireland presented to him for the outstanding work he has spearheaded in the major water project in Nepal.
George Blenkinship joined the Rotary club of Church and Oswaldtwistle in 2009 and it was soon obvious that George possessed outstanding qualities and a year later he was asked to become club International Chairman.
For the next 2 years George became very much involved with all the facets of International matters and gained respects from all members of the club for the manner he approached the job.
When George was asked by a club Rotarian to investigate the feasibility of a water project in Nepal he made a presentation to the club, which asked the members if they would support such an ambitious project.
The club fully supported George who then started a working group with other local Rotary clubs to progress to gaining a matching grant. Michael Jackson the writer of this article attended a couple of these presentations, which George delivered with great distinction and it was soon obvious that all the local Rotary clubs fully supported George.
The village of Maikot in Nepal was identified as the place to install a fresh water system, and a connection was made with the Rotary club of Gorkha who readily agreed to act as host.
George then made the decision that he should go out to Nepal and meet up with the Rotarians from Gorkha and with villagers of Maikot and see for himself the viability of a successful water system. When George returned to the UK, he made impressive presentation to his own club and the other local Rotary clubs which showed George travelling high up the mountainside to the village which was by a narrow twisting track. The water had to be carried from the bottom of the mountain by means of filling utensils which then had to be carried back to the village up the hill. George was hailed as a hero by all the villagers who turned out in style to cheer him during his stay.
In 2014 a year after George’s return from Nepal together with other local rotary clubs organised a “Waterworks” fundraiser at Ewood Park which was a great success with 300 people attending which raised the grand sum of over £9,000.
During the same year a matching grant was authorised which meant with funds provided by the Rotary clubs a figure of £40,000 was made available. A start was then made on this project and a year later the project was near completion when sadly the Gorkha area of Nepal suffered a crushing earthquake (25th April, 2015) which meant the water project was put on hold as damage had been done to the pumping station.
When news of the terrible earthquake came through it rallied George to seek funds both personal and from the local Rotary clubs which raised the grand sum of £12,329 which was used by the Maikot village to provide immediate shelter and the building of 36 temporary school buildings in the area.
Fortunately work recommenced on completing the water system in August 2015. This will allow villagers to access fresh water direct to the village, instead of having to travel down the mountain side.
Without doubt George Blenkinship has been an inspiring figure from the start of this project and must be highly congratulated for all the work and effort he has put into this water system. He has made a great impression with all the Rotarians from his own club and other local clubs.
A true case of Rotary in action and without doubt should be recognised for this very impressive achievement.
The photo shows left to right President Ian, George and DG Albert