John Norgrove, who graduated from The University of Manchester in 1971, has been awarded Alumni Volunteer of the Year for his work running the Linda Norgrove Foundation, which he established over five years ago in the immediate aftermath of the death of his daughter, Linda Norgrove, an aid-worker in Afghanistan.
The Foundation was created to help women and children in Afghanistan, with a focus on those affected by the war. To date the charity has supported female medical students with scholarships, provided widows with a sustainable source of income and funded an orphanage for disabled children and a wealth of other projects.
John studied civil engineering at the University and has since lived and worked in northern Scotland.
His daughter Linda carried out doctoral studies at the University’s Institute for Development Policy and Management and was awarded a PhD in 2003. In 2010 she was working on development projects in a remote, rural area in East Afghanistan when she was kidnapped and killed.
The University posthumously honoured Linda with an outstanding alumna award in 2011, in a ceremony attended by her former classmates and lecturers.
John said: "I'm so delighted to have received this Award, but the 'icing on the cake' is knowing that Linda would have been delighted as well.An award from the University where we both studied, and for helping women and children in Afghanistan, a cause that would have been so close to her heart."
Since its birth in 2010, the Foundation has given over £1 million to numerous small to medium-sized projects to benefit the women and children who have been affected by decades of conflict in Afghanistan. John, his wife Lorna, and the other trustees all volunteer their time to the charity without pay.
Jane Maciver, who nominated John, said: “John has relentlessly poured his time and effort into this organisation. Despite facing many hurdles and negative assumptions about Afghanistan, John maintains an optimistic outlook and is an inspiration to any who meet him.”
John received his award at the University’s annual Volunteer of the Year Awards which also honour a staff member and a student.
School of Law lecturer Kirsty Keywood won the staff award for her 20 years of volunteering and leadership in support of people with learning disabilities or mental health problems.
Student winner was Sarah Brown, who is studying Linguistics and is Chair of Student Action, the volunteering arm of the Students’ Union as well as volunteering directly on projects.
Her work includes leading People with People, a project which involves planning and running a weekly activities evening for a group of adults who have learning disabilities or autism; volunteering locally with Retrak, an international charity which supports children who are living on the streets to be able to access housing, education and employment; volunteering for The Life Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded by University students, which works to support disabled children and adults who are living in government care homes in Romania; and is a voluntary trained Dementia Friends Champion.
John has relentlessly poured his time and effort into this organisation. Despite facing many hurdles and negative assumptions about Afghanistan, John maintains an optimistic outlook and is an inspiration to any who meet him