Almost £30,000 has been given out in charitable donations by training and certification provider BPEC to projects that use plumbing skills to enhance life.
At its first ever Life Award presentation ceremony, The BPEC Charity made four awards to deserving projects.
In memory of BPEC’s founding chairman Raymond J Brooks, they were presented by the charity’s trustees at an event attended by 100 representatives of the plumbing industry at Pride Park Stadium, Derby, on October 24th 2012.
The Master of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers Charles Yuill gave the guest speech.
The BPEC Charity Life Award 2012 was presented to Lee Firth and his team of apprentices at NG Bailey in Leeds for the design of a project that will deliver a safe water system to a health clinic in Cobue, Mozambique.
The team, which also included mechanical BSE student James Reid, junior project engineer Oliver Pengelly, and trainee mechanical designer Kayley Lockhead, was awarded £12,000 from The BPEC Charity.
Winning the award means that they will now be able to travel to Mozambique to install the design, which was drawn up following an approach from a UK doctor working in Mozambique.
Currently drinking water in the village is sourced from a nearby polluted lake.
“My team feels privileged to have an opportunity to deliver a project which will have an enormous impact on the lives and well-being of people in such a deprived area,” said Lee Firth, professional development manager.
The BPEC Charity also awarded a Conditional Award of £10,000 to Burnley College for a project to take apprentice plumbers to Uganda to work alongside a village community to build wells to provide safe, clean drinking water.
Plumbing tutor Stephen Dobney intends to work with the Drop in the Bucket charity to get the project off the ground and is embarking on a fundraising bid involving the college and local community.
“Our goal is to decrease the number of children needlessly dying of malaria brought on by drinking contaminated water,” said Stephen.
“Using the skills students have developed in theory and practical lessons, we want to work alongside the community and help build wells that will provide the safe, clean drinking water that these people so desperately need. It will make a massive difference to the way the villagers live, and ultimately save their lives.”
A Development Life Award of £6,000 was presented to Martin Biron, head of school (construction), and his associates from the College of North West London for the development of a virtual plumbing college online to support plumbing students and teachers.
Over the past four years, many thousands of students have used the virtual online 3-D training environment.
“As an educator, over the past five years I have been driven with a passion to develop educational resources to encourage individuals to develop the skills needed to become competent and proficient plumbers,” said Martin.
The award will fund the online 3-D world on the Second Life virtual reality site for a further two years.
A Merit Life Award of £1,500 was presented to plumber John Booth, from Fareham, Hampshire, for his involvement in the Peace & Hope Trust’s charity work in Nicaragua.
John has financed two trips to Nicaragua since 2003, and has been involved in supervising plumbing projects that have helped to collect rainwater and provide safe, clean drinking water.
A number of other developments have also been introduced, such as a toilet to separate urine and faeces, which helps with crop fertilisation.
Each expedition costs £1,500 and the award will allow John to visit Nicaragua again to help continue the work, which is part of the reconciliation and construction programme started in 1990 following an earthquake in 1971 and the civil war in the 1980s which left the Central American country impoverished.
BPEC chairman Frank Glover said: “BPEC is delighted to have presented four separate awards at our inaugural BPEC Charity Life Awards event.
Each of the award winning entries has shown how plumbing can make a difference to life, and we congratulate this year’s winners.”
The search has now started for applicants for next year’s BPEC Charity Life Awards, with organisers urging those who work in the plumbing sector to put themselves forward.
“There are so many ways in which plumbing skills can enhance life,” said Frank Glover.
“It may be through product invention, an innovative solution or service, a charitable plumbing activity or project, raising the image of plumbing or a change in perspective.
We hope that this year’s winners will provide inspiration to others who could be award winners in 2013.”
BPEC, which was established in 1992, is the leading provider of training and certification for the building services engineering sector, which covers the gas, oil, plumbing, electrotechnical, heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration industries.
The organisation’s training materials range from technical training packs for domestic gas safety and water regulations to a selection of renewable energies manuals such as solar thermal hot water and heat pumps.
BPEC is dedicated to education and lifelong learning, and seeks to encourage individuals to undertake further training to continuously update their skills, both for personal development and to keep abreast of the industry’s technological advances.
Its charitable arm – The BPEC Charity – launched the Life Award in 2012 to reward and support those in the UK plumbing industry who use plumbing skills to enhance life.
To find out more about entering next year’s Life Awards visit www.bpec.org.uk/charity
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