Our picture shows Shirley Morley presenting Val with the Alan Morley cup with Nigel in the background.
On Wednesday 26th June, The Alan Morley ‘SERVICE ABOVE SELF’, presented annually by the Rotary Club of The Wreake Valley to a resident of the area in which the Club operates, who has manifested the Rotary Motto of Service Above Self through their voluntary work in the community, was presented to Val Hatherall for her many years of work as Co-Ordinator of the Friends of Chernobyl Children (FOCCEL), East Leicestershire Branch.
Val joined the Branch twelve years ago and worked with a significant number of others to raise funds, organise and run a programme to enable an annual visit of twenty children from Gomel, Belarus to visit the area for a month for a period of five years. Once that series of visits was over Val was appointed Co-Ordinator of the group and commenced the planning of another series of visits by a different group of children from Belarus. This was not without its difficulties since the costs of the visit had risen considerably, a new Committee had to be formed to join with the enthusiasts left from the first group. Val absorbed a tremendous work load, liaising with the national HQ of FOCCEL, setting up a group of host families, organising working groups within the Committee to plan the visit programme, raise funds and sponsorship whilst, at the same time holding down a full time job.
During her six years as Co-Ordinator Val has given unselfishly of her time and talents so that twelve Chernobyl children have been given an experience of lifetime; enabling them to visit England, enjoy our clean air and uncontaminated food, learn of our culture, and to socially interact within family and other support groups. Val even took time off to visit Belarus and see all the families of the children undergoing the visit programme. She has hosted children, supported and counselled others and acted as an inspirational leader to the current Committee.
The current programme ends in early July when the existing Committee will retire and most of the present host families will step out of the programme. To ensure that there is continuity and the work of giving this opportunity to future Chernobyl children Val is hard at work endeavouring to find replacement members of the Committee and host families.
In accepting the award from Rotary President Nigel Coleman, Val paid tribute to the support she had received from her Committee, the Host Families, Queniborough and Broomfield Schools, sponsors, and the local community for the support in the fund raising activities. She said that she would be pleased to hear from anyone who felt that they could play an active role in the new Committee or in hosting a child from Chernobyl. It is a truly rewarding experience.
Anyone interested in getting involved can contact Peter Dalton, Wreake Valley Rotary Club on 0116 260 8783.