The Coleraine founder of the ‘Moving Mountains’ charity has been honoured by Prime Minister Theresa May with a UK Point of Light Award.
Gavin Bate, a social entrepreneur and keen mountaineer, undertakes death-defying expeditions – including scaling Everest six times - in order to raise funds and awareness for the Belfast-based charity which supports social enterprises and sustainable conservation projects in Nepal, Borneo and East Africa.
The Point of Light Award recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the honour.
In a personal letter to Gavin, the Prime Minister said: “Your passionate commitment to giving communities ‘a leg up, not a hand out’ is transforming lives in Nepal, Borneo and East Africa. You should be proud of ‘Moving Mountains’ and your brilliant work to fund raise for its projects.”
Gavin is the 605th winner of the award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA
“I started volunteering in the slums of Nairobi many years ago, working as a teacher, an aid driver, building clinics and helping re-unite street children with their families,” said Gavin.
“I would never have guessed that journey would take me to the top of Mount Everest promoting the charity I started called Moving Mountains, and now being the winner of the Points of Light Award. It is very heartening and encouraging, awards like this only ever motivate people to try harder and do more.
“My hope is that Moving Mountains has a life and sustainability beyond my imaginings, and that the awareness created by this award will attract more people to volunteer with us.”
Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK. Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time or a father teaching young people life skills, the award honours shining examples of volunteering.