Prestigious award for Royal Wootton Bassett Rotarian

By Barrie Hudson - 1 April 2021


Royal Wootton Bassett Rotarian Ray Sanderson has been awarded the prestigious Rotary International Service Above Self accolade.

  • Ray Sanderson has changed countless lives for the better

    Ray Sanderson has changed countless lives for the better

Mr Sanderson, a member of Royal Wootton Bassett and District Rotary Club, received the award in recognition of his commitment to helping others, notably in volunteering his time and talents for humanitarian service and professional achievements. 

This is the highest honour given to Rotarians, with only 150 being awarded worldwide each year.

Ray has been a Rotarian for 32 years, initially with South Cotswolds Rotary Club and more recently with Royal Wootton Bassett and District. 

He has served as Club President, Assistant Governor and member of District 1100 Executive, and chaired District committees on Kid's Out, Community Service and International Service. 

Chris Firth, Governor of District 1100 2020-21, said: "Ray has worked tirelessly on community issues for many years, whether in Malmesbury Wiltshire, Rotary in Wiltshire, Rotary nationally and internationally. 

"He fully deserves this prestigious award from Rotary International for all the work he has done over many years, improving people’s lives and wellbeing. 

"The evidence of this is all around the communities he has worked with and the people he has inspired."

Richard Everett President of Royal Wootton Bassett & District Rotary Club said: "Throughout Ray's life, both with Rotary and the community outside, his service in helping others has been a shining example of 'Service Above Self'. 

"We are very proud of Ray receiving this very much deserved award from Rotary International."

Ray has been a member of Rotary Great Britain and Ireland's International Service Committee and is active in the Rotary Inter Country Committees for South Africa and Germany.

He led a club Global Grant for a mobile Xray unit for the Red Cross in Cape Town, together with numerous South African fundraising projects benefiting deprived township areas. 

These have included computers for schools, football kits and helping to build creches. He is still active and working on a Global Grant to refurbish and equip a township Night Shelter in Malmesbury, South Africa.

Ray is co-founder and vice chairman and treasurer of the Wiltshire Life Education Centre, managed by Rotarians across three Rotary districts, which provides mental health and wellbeing lessons to primary schools across Wiltshire.

Living in Malmesbury, Ray has been town mayor twice. He raised funds to buy a mobile chemotherapy unit for the community, a defibrillator for a frontline ambulance and face masks for every ambulance crew member in Wiltshire. 

He is President of the Malmesbury Youth Football Club, director and Vice Chairman of the Cartmell community minibus and director and chairman of Malmesbury and District Community Transport.

Ray was the inspiration behind the Malmesbury Community Corps, which started as a response to the frequent floods from the River Avon that the town suffers.

Mayor of Malmesbury Campbell Ritchie said: "I am delighted Ray Sanderson is being presented with the prestigious 'Service Above Self' Rotary award. 

"Ray has worked tirelessly at the heart of Malmesbury's community for decades. He served as a town councillor for over thirty years and as Mayor of Malmesbury twice, and has a huge influence on many important community services. 

"These include the foundation and development of our local Foodbank, improving our vital flood protection schemes and our friendship with towns in Germany (Bad Hersfeld) and South Africa (Malmesbury).

"Ray is one of those individuals who not only wants to help others but does the hard work to make it happen. He successfully engages with every age group in the community and achieves this through his fun, energy and commitment.

"Every community would love to have a Ray Sanderson."

A Rotary Great Britain and Ireland spokesperson said: "Ray is a very unassuming man who has shown a tireless enthusiastic can-do approach in his service with Rotary and the world-wide community. 

"All of us in Rotary Great Britain and Ireland congratulate you on this award. It is so well deserved and an inspiration to us all."

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