Champion charity worker receives honour from PM
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