1065. Richard Gibson
1066. Heather Gibson
Richard and Heather Gibson, from Devon, are cattle farmers who have transformed the lives of an entire community living in remote Kenya by providing them with regular access to water.
After taking part in the BBC’s ‘Toughest Place to be a Farmer’ programme in 2013, Richard and Heather Gibson were inspired to fund, plan and build a huge borehole system to serve the disparate Samburu tribal community who regularly face drought. The 48-metre deep borehole, which is supported by a 720-metre high header tank, 12 kilometres of water piping and cost £75,000 to construct, was completed in July 2016, and over 1,600 farmers and thousands of livestock have since been supported by their efforts. Through their charity ‘Aid for Samburu’, Richard and Heather continue to provide funding and support for water maintenance projects in the region, forming a committee among the local community.
Richard and Heather’s award coincides with the United Nations’ World Soil Day, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of soil quality for wellbeing, food security and healthy ecosystems, and were presented with their award by their local MP Peter Heaton-Jones.
In a personal letter to Richard and Heather, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Your project is having a truly transformational impact on the remote Samburu community by providing thousands of people with access to water. You have both shown remarkable commitment in creating and funding the ‘Aid for Samburu’ project, and I wish you every success with your continued efforts to tackle drought in the region.”
Peter Heaton-Jones, MP for North Devon, said:
“It is such an honour to be able to present this Point of Light award to Richard and Heather Gibson. What they have done is quite extraordinary and is the result of years of hard work and dedication. Richard and Heather wanted to raise some money to drill a bore hole but every charity they approached said that it was just too difficult as the location was too remote. This didn’t stop them and they just went out and did it for themselves, which is considerably easier said than done. Years later over 1600 farmers rely on the bore hole that they have created. They have saved lives and helped transform one of the remotest communities in the world. This is yet another example of the incredible work being done here in North Devon and we should all feel very proud of what they have achieved.”
Richard and Heather said:
“We were delighted to have been recognised but this project would not have been possible without our hardworking charity committee and overwhelming support and generosity from our local community (as well as donations from afar). Having a passion for fellow farmers in a less fortunate position has been our driving force.”
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