Ellon Rotarian honoured for overseas work

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An Ellon Rotarian is to receive a top award for her volunteer work abroad.

Hilary Gordon, from the Ellon club, is to be honoured by Rotary International with a Champions of Change accolade for her outstanding efforts in education and literacy with First Steps Himalaya.

In April last year, Hilary, with a group of other educational specialists from District 1010 Scotland North, travelled to Nepal using a Rotary Global Grant to fund a vocational training team.

The aim of the visit was to improve the skills of local teachers which, in turn, would raise the educational standards in the classroom, to achieve sustaining development.

The team of seven worked alongside the charity First Steps Himalaya and the implementing partner, First Steps Nepal.

Hilary, a retired head teacher, told the Times: “I’m just thrilled with this award.

“My club president did the nomination which then went to the district governor, who had quite a few to consider.

“There are Rotarians across the UK who do tremendous work, volunteering for all sorts of tasks, and for me to be selected is such an honour.”

District Governor Keith Hopkins said: “I had suggestions from clubs and after great deliberation I put forward Hilary Gordon of the Ellon Club for the International Award and I am very pleased to say that she has been successful.”

Mr Hopkins will accompany Hilary to the House of Lords on Tuesday, March 17, when she will receive the prestigious award.

Vocational Training Teams (VTT) aim to build capacity and create relationships that will make a significant impact on a country or project. 

They allow Rotarians and non-Rotarians to transfer their career skills. Training local people empowers the community and creates sustainable long term change. 

The final composition of the Nepal team was five Rotarians and two non-Rotarians from across District 1010, following a strong response of more than 80 applications.

Ellon Rotary Club plans to continue to assist by equipping the training centre and supporting ongoing training.

Donations should be sent the Ellon club.

A Rotary spokesperson said the most satisfying aspect of the project’s success is that the VTT has kick-started a series of life-changing improvements.