On Saturday 16 June 2012 it was announced that Ben Nealon, a long time Trustee for Pump Aid, was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his extensive contribution to the charity. Ben has balanced his work with Pump Aid with maintaining a distinguished acting career on both the stage and screen.
Pump Aid is dedicated to providing clean water and safe sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently they undertaking programmes in Malawi and Liberia. Since 1996 Pump Aid has built almost 8,000 Elephant Pumps (a simple and efficient rope and washer design, perfect for rural locations) using its own manufacturing and construction teams in partnership with the local communities. The communities crucially provide some of the materials and labour, along with assuming responsibility for the pump’s ongoing care & maintenance.
Ben has been part of the organisation since 1998 when he worked in the Manicaland area of Zimbabwe whilst filming ‘Soldier, Soldier’ in and served as Chair of Trustees until early 2011. Throughout 2011 Ben assumed the role of Development Director before returning to the board in 2012.
Pump Aid’s Chief Executive, Gwen Vaughan, comments:
Few trustees invest so much personal effort into their responsibilities, Ben has been truly exceptional; Pump Aid could not be where it is without him, and without Pump Aid over a million people would still be without clean water and safe sanitation.
Ben, currently touring in Bill Kenwright’s production of Agatha Christie’s Murder On The Nile, said:
Whilst it is of course an extraordinary honour for me to be awarded an OBE I see it principally as recognition for all the passion and commitment of everyone who has been involved in Pump Aid: staff, trustees, volunteers and supporters from all over the world. We have achieved a lot in the past 16 years but there is still so much to be done and I hope that as an organization Pump Aid will continue to grow, learn and contribute effectively to the work being done in the water and sanitation sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.