This week local fundraiser, Diana Freeman received the president’s award from WaterAid UK for her tireless work raising funds to bring clean water and sanitation to developing countries.
Diana, who lives in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, and works for Anglian Water at their Huntingdon head office is well known at Anglian Water for overseeing staff fundraising activities for WaterAid including balls, quizzes and cake sales. In the past year alone she has been instrumental in raising £800,000 for the charity.
Di said: “It’s really rewarding to be doing some above and beyond the day job. The work that WaterAid does particularly resonates with you when you work in the water industry – you really see how we take things for granted like water and sanitation.
“I went to Zambia with WaterAid a few years ago and we saw some examples of the communities that don’t have access to water and sanitation, and also the projects that are helping them like boreholes being sunk in rural villages and toilet blocks being built. The difference for the local people before and after was life changing. It actually made me feel guilty when I came back home to my taps and toilet – these things are just normal for us in our everyday lives in this country.”
The water industry set up the charity WaterAid 35 years ago to get clean water and sanitation to people living in some of the poorest countries in the world, and since then Anglian Water staff and customers have raised millions of pounds through fundraising events and donations.
The UK has some of the cleanest water anywhere in the world and a sewage system that ensures healthy sanitation for all. But the same is not true everywhere in the world.
Worldwide, some 650 million people in the world still do not have access to clean water and more than 2.3 billion do not have access to basic sanitation, with devastating results.
Some 315,000 children under five die each year of diarrhoeal diseases related to the lack of these basic rights. And 50% of malnutrition cases are linked to chronic diarrhoea caused by lack of clean water, good sanitation and good hygiene including handwashing with soap.
People can find out more about WaterAid by visiting: www.wateraid.org.uk.