A businessman who devoted his time to improving the lives of African children has been given a posthumous honour.
Friends of former Hope Valley Rotary Club president Ian Charles, who died suddenly in March, have organised a unique tribute in recognition of his campaign to help young people in remote parts of Gambia travel to their nearest school.
Ian, of Bradwell, North Derbyshire, introduced the club to the Jole Rider charity, which collects unwanted pedal cycles from the UK, arranges any repairs, and then ships them to children who face journeys of up to 10 miles to get to class.
During the past seven years, more than 500 cycles, along with educational books and other school materials, have been packed into containers.
They were sorted at Ian’s own business Bradwell Packaging before being packed off to the African country.
This week, the 12,000th cycle to be shipped abroad as part of the project will carry a special badge with Ian’s name engraved on it.
Ron Eyley, of Hope Valley Rotary Club, said: “It was largely due to Ian’s campaign that Hope Valley Rotary Club was awarded a much-coveted Rotary International in Britain and Ireland Environmental Award.
“Only one award is made each year to a rotary club in the UK.”
On top of the club’s shipment of 500 bikes to Gambia, more than 100 cycles were sent out to India, where they have been converted into tricycles to be used as hand-powered wheelchairs.
In recognition of his efforts, Ian was awarded a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship, the highest accolade of the rotary movement.
It was a huge honour for the great-grandfather, who passed away at the age of 70.
David Swettenham, chief executive of Jole Rider, said: “Ian was one of our early supporters and was still supporting us to the last.
“He was a tremendous ambassador for our work and we shall always be grateful for the time and effort he spent raising awareness of the charity.
“When Ian died, Jole Rider lost a truly great friend.”