Luton Rotarian Paul Denton is one of just 44 Rotary members from around the world to have been recognised this year with a prestigious award for exemplary service to the Rotary Foundation, Rotary International’s own charity.
A past Rotary District Governor and Past President of Luton North Rotary Club, Paul has been awarded the Rotary Foundation Distinguished Service Award.
He has been a member of Luton North Rotary Club since 1983 and has spent much of his time as a Rotarian working with the Rotary Foundation, with its aim of ‘doing good in the world’. He was introduced to the charity just two months after joining Rotary.
As a Group Study Exchange Team Leader he visited Memphis and Mississippi with a team of five young men in a unique cultural and vocational exchange. Later he visited Ghana to launch Blindness Awareness weeks in Accra and Kumasi, a project funded by the Rotary Foundation. It is estimated that over 150,000 people benefited from the project. Deaf children in Uganda benefitted from another project which included training for health care workers.
Working locally, Luton North Rotary Club has been involved in projects led by Paul installing Public Access Defibrillators in a number of areas in the District (Beds, Bucks and Herts), including Bury Park Luton; introducing new technology in the cancer unit at the Luton and Dunstable hospital; providing a Fibroscanner for the Lister Hospital; and support for Keech Hospice Care during the pandemic. Also during the pandemic he headed projects to provide oxygen equipment for parts of India, raising money quickly from his contacts around the world.
In 2020 Paul led an application for a Rotary Foundation Global Grant for the international charity Mercy Ships, the largest non-governmental hospital ships in the world. A new ship is now coming on line, Global Mercy, and Rotary has provided $1.125million for new equipment on board. This is the largest Grant sanctioned by the Trustees in its 100 years plus history. Paul's other Rotary Foundation work has taken him to Sydney Australia, California and Chicago USA. During his year as District Governor, clubs in the District raised £54,000 for the Charity Hope and Homes for Children and its work in the Ukraine, and he secured a Rotary Foundation Children’s Opportunity Grant to purchase a mini bus for Keech Hospice Care, Children’s unit.
On receiving the Rotary Foundation Distinguished Service Award, Paul said he was “extremely honoured” the Foundation had chosen to recognise his service and he thanked them for it. He acknowledged the support he has received over the years from Rotary District 1260, and his own Rotary Club Luton North, and in particular Club Secretary Leslie Robertson who always given added value to Grant Applications.
In presenting the Award District Governor Jane Mordue said ‘Paul has improved the daily lives of many thousands of people in Luton and across the world. They may never know who helped them but we in Rotary wanted to recognise his charitable work. He has always risen to the occasion. When the cry went up for oxygen in India last year, he pulled together Rotarians globally and worked wonders to ensure that help was sent - and, most importantly - reached those most in need'
The Rotary Foundation is a non-profit corporation that supports the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programmes. The Award was made by the Trustees of the Rotary Foundation on information provided by the local Rotary District.