International award for our very own Yorkshire leader!

DIFFERENT is just one word to describe colourful Leeds business man, Craig Burton and now he has been recognised by one of the world’s leading charitable organisations for making a difference.

Craig, who runs central Leeds based The Works has been awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International in recognition for his charitable work, which supports and inspires development locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

It follows a successful 2016 when The Works celebrated 25 years and caps almost 25 years with Rotary where he has helped found two clubs in Bradford and Leeds.

Caroline Murie, president of Bradford Bronte Club presented Craig with The Paul Harris Fellowship at a recent breakfast meeting of the club which he helped to establish with fellow business people almost 25 years ago.

“Along with some other Bradford business people we recognised that Rotary International would be a great way to pool our talents and make a different,” Craig said. “Since then we have come a long way and raised £100,000s for charities in Yorkshire, the UK and made our own contribution to Rotary International to tackle scourges such as polio,” he added.

Among Craig’s Rotary achievements has been to introduce the Happy Pound to Rotary, he was the youngest ever President at the age of 29 and he has introduced 100s of business people to the Rotary world to benefit society.

“One of my proudest achievements was being instrumental in the formation of Rotary Club of Leeds White Rose. I said in an inauguration speech that is was probably as close I’ll ever get to conceiving a child. In my capacity as a connector I have introduced many many new members to Rotary to keep it young and lively. My rule is to introduce as many good folk that are younger than yourself!”

“Bradford Bronte and White Rose have both bene ground breaking s breakfast meetings. Younger professionals couldn’t commit to the traditional lunchtime meetings that many Rotary Clubs held so we decided to be a bit different to attract potential younger Rotarians and started a breakfast meeting,” he said. “It’s a format that had already been tremendously successful at Bradford Bronte, so we knew it would work”

“It has always been a creative club and organizes events at the heart of the city centre that appeal to the business community. There’s an annual Call My Bluff Wine Tasting, we have held film premieres, entered the annual Dragon Boat competition as well as working in the community to mentor and support young people,” he added.

Receiving the award left the usually outgoing Craig humbled.

“Craig is one of the longest serving members of the Rotary Club of Bradford Bronte. He wants to spend more time at the Rotary Club of Leeds White Rose, which is closer to his home. We couldn’t let him go without marking the event and saying ‘Thank You,’” said Caroline.

“In this country, Paul Harris awards are given to individuals in recognition of service to the community or their club. In Craig’s case it’s for both. His contribution to Rotary International has been incredible and he truly epitomises the Rotary mottos of ‘Service Before Self’ and ‘Serving Humanity’. He’s also been an innovator, introducing schemes such as Happy Pounds, which demonstrate his infectious enthusiasm and positivity. He works tirelessly for Rotary causes, has a genuine interest in mentoring young people and making a difference to those who need it the most.”