Charity Fundraiser Thanks Daughter Who Nominated Him for OBE

A Luton fundraiser who secured a $1.1million grant for Mercy Ships, was presented with his OBE earlier this month. On receiving it, he paid tribute to his daughter, Julia, who nominated him for the award.   

Paul Denton, 88, was awarded the OBE at Windsor Castle for services to charity having spent more than 40 years working with Luton North Rotary Club. Upon collecting the award, he thanked his daughter Julia, who started the nomination process before her untimely death 2 years ago, aged 61.  

Paul said:

Julia and her husband Simon got the ball rolling for the nomination. It’s sad she couldn’t be here to witness me receiving it, but I know she’d be so proud.

One of Paul’s big achievements was helping to secure a $1.1million grant for Mercy Ships, which uses hospital ships to bring free surgery and medical training in regions where resources are scarce. The grant – the highest in Rotary Foundation’s history – helped Mercy Ships to fund a new, state-of-the-art CT scanner, and other vital equipment on board the Global Mercy, which is currently stationed in Sierra Leone, West Africa.   

Paul said:

I greatly admire the work of Mercy Ships and was thrilled to help them get the largest grant in the Foundation’s history. We tapped into funds from South Korea, Japan, New Zealand and all over the world. So many people got behind it! They saw the charity’s clear vision and wanted to help.  

Paul, a banker at Natwest for 40 years before his retirement, added:

The grant galvanised the generosity of Rotary, truly capturing hearts and imaginations: 31 Rotary districts, 341 clubs across the UK and the world – from Oklahoma to Seoul – all found a common cause to support Mercy Ships. I’m sure that’s one of the main reasons I received an OBE.

Mercy Ships Chief Executive Officer Joanne Balaam said the charity was delighted to hear of Paul’s award.  

“Paul’s commitment and determination to raise the largest global grant ever given by Rotary International of $1.1m for Mercy Ships will create change for decades to come. Women, men and children who have been robbed of years of healthy life in sub-Saharan Africa, can now receive the vital medical care they need.  

“From all of our Mercy Ships volunteers and patients, we pass on a big congratulations for Paul’s well-deserved OBE in recognition of his volunteer services to charity.”   

Summing up Paul said,

On the day I felt proud , fortunate and privileged to have been recognised in this way. But I was also aware that it would not has been possible without the support of my family and Luton North Rotary Club members, particularly Leslie Robertson who has always been there for me.  

It was a very happy day with family members and I shall always remember it was the day I told the future King about The Rotary Foundation and working with Mercy Ships.

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