A retired businessman from Acton has been nominated for an Ealing Gazette 'Pride in Our People' award for his efforts to improve the lives of people in rural Zambia.
John Irwin, 70, of Shaa Road, is a fundraiser and chairman of the trustees of the charity, Village Water, which supports efforts to establish safe water and sanitation in the African country.
Since 2003, Village Water has helped more than 540 villages and 20 schools, affecting around 150,000 people, and John is passionate about their work.
He said: "It's a real eye-opener when you bump through the rough, sandy country and arrive in a very basic village. The people are so pleased to see you. You sit under a tree with the head man, surrounded by children, many of whom have flies around their faces and the state of their health is poor. The sanitation is very primitive. It's a tough life.
"You go back a year later after our team has been at work and the transformation is like night and day. The children are bright-eyed. It's miraculous."
John was nominated for a Pride award by Village Water Director, Clare Wearden, who said he is a "great ambassador" and "passionate about improving lives through safe water and sanitation, traveling to Zambia many times to help select sites to dig wells, build our local partner’s skills and attend board meetings".
The former businessman appreciated the importance of water after joining the British Society of Dowsers, saying "I have always been interested in slightly odd things." He later met the founder of Village Water and joined the charity in 2005.
John is an active fundraiser, presenting to different groups, attending events and leading donor visits to Zambia to demonstrate the impact of our work.
Clare added: "He is a fantastic Chair of Trustees, steering Village Water through a huge period of change and guiding the organisation as we grow. His tireless passion and commitment have truly changed lives in Zambia."