Cham­pion char­ity worker re­ceives hon­our from PM

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Will Hen­shaw

A Cam­bus­lang man who has raised around £600,000 for char­ity in mem­ory of his mum has been hon­oured byy the Prime Min­is­ter.

D e r e k Mc Ew a n ’ s m o t h e r Cather­ine passed away at the age of 38 due to Crohn’s dis­ease. Derek was only 16 at the time.

Crohn’s dis­ease, also known as Crohn syn­drome and re­gional en­teri­tis, is a type of in­flam­ma­tory bowel dis­ease.

Cather­ine’s death dev­as­tated the fam­ily. How­ever when Derek orig­i­nally planned a fundrais­ing ball in 2012 to hon­our his mother’s mem­ory, he never dreamed that he would end up rais­ing more than half a mil­lion.

For his ef­forts, he has now re­ceived the Points of Light award. The award is is­sued by the Prime Min­is­ter, set up to recog­nise vol­un­teers who make a real dif­fer­ence in the com­mu­nity.

Derek said: “I re­ally strug­gled with the death of my mum, and still do at times. She passed away at 38, that was far too young and it wasn’t right.

“To be hon­est when I started plan­ning the first event, It was only ever go­ing to be one thing, to tick a box and say that you’ve done your bit.

e first Red Hot Ball was held in 2004. Since then it’s taken place ev­ery year and has at­tracted top acts such as Paolo Nu­tini and Bea­tles trib­ute act Them Bea­tles. How­ever the Red Hot Balls are only part of a plethora of events the Cather­ine McEwan Foun­da­tion un­der­take to raise funds for Crohn’s & Col­i­tis UK and Yorkhill Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal.

Derek (39) added: “After the first one, we re­leased we were quite good at putting them on! Peo­ple were ask­ing when we were go­ing to do another one! We did a cou­ple more and it started gain­ing mo­men­tum.”

In fact, Derek’s lat­est fundrais­ing ef­fort was at the end of Novem­ber. Derek and some brave vol­un­teers took part in the Santa Bungee Jump. At­ten­dees jumped off a 300ft crane dressed as jolly old Saint Nick.

Although the to­tal funds raised for that ac­tiv­ity are still be­ing counted, Derek ex­pects it to raise be­tween £15,000 and £20,000.

How­ever this is just one ex­am­ple of the many events Derek and his team run through­out the year. They have also taken part in marathons, sky div­ing, com­edy nights and much more.

As you can imag­ine, it takes a lot of mo­ti­va­tion to con­tinue to plan such events. Derek says his drive comes from be­ing able to see the good his fundrais­ing ac­tu­ally does.

“The thing that re­ally drove us from about our third year was be­ing able to chan­nel where the money goes, and be­ing able to see the good it does. Half of our money goes to Crohn’s & Col­i­tis UK and the other half to Yorkhill.”

“We work very closely with the char­i­ties. We can see where the money goes, we speak with fam­i­lies who ben­e­fit from it. We have a di­rect re­la­tion­ship with them, and that helps tremen­dously.”

Derek said that this pro­vides the mo­ti­va­tion to keep go­ing, rather than a spe­cific fundrais­ing fig­ure tar­get.

He added: “I’m not both­ered about the to­tal, I’m a be­liever that when peo­ple brag about the money they’ve raised can be more of an ego thing. I’m more con­cerned with see­ing what the re­sult of the money is and what it has funded. Ev­ery penny we raised has a re­sult as­so­ci­ated with it.”

The Points of Light was es­tab­lished in Amer­ica by Pres­i­dent George W Bush and since recog­nised over 5000 in­di­vid­u­als.

Although Derek, who runs a Aims Me­dia, a web de­sign and dig­i­tal” mar­ket­ing agency, does not do the fundrais­ing to get awards - he ad­mits it is nice to be recog­nised!

He added: “I had no idea I was go­ing to be awarded it. I still don’t know who nom­i­nated me.

“I got a phone call from the Cab­i­net Of­fice, say­ing they were do­ing re­search on vol­un­tary or­gan­i­sa­tions. They said they were build­ing a port­fo­lio of char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tions who make a dif­fer­ence in their com­mu­nity and I might be put for­ward to par­lia­ment for the award.

“You don’t do this type of work to get awards, though it is nice!”

Find out more about the Cather­ine McEwan foun­da­tion by vis­it­ing http:// cather­inem­ce­wan­foun­da­tion. com.

Well doneDerek McEwan (cen­tre) has re­ceived the Points of Light award and has pre­vi­ously been com­mended for his char­ity work

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