In a celebration to end the year, The Rotary Club of Port Macquarie bestowed their highest honour on Dr Ray Hodgson at their changeover dinner on June 27.
Dr Hodgson, who became a Rotarian a little over 12 months ago, said the honour was not something he ever thought he would receive.
“I was absolutely stunned when my name was called to receive the Paul Harris Fellow, I was not expecting it at all,” Dr Hodgson said.
“It is so lovely to be recognised in this way and to have the backing from the community to support the important, ongoing work, we are doing in Nepal is wonderful.”
He said he was proud to receive a Paul Harris Fellow for his work in Nepal.
“When I first joined Rotary those who had a Paul Harris Fellow were long time, influential members of the club and to think I now have one is incredible,” he said.
“Women’s health in Nepal is atrocious and it was over eight years ago now that we first started going over there help.
“In the beginning we were just focusing on helping women with prolapse but after we saw the extent of the problem we extended our scope to include general women’s health and maternal health.”
Dr Hodgson said the next project in Nepal for his team was building a hospital for women and children.
“Part of our work is teaching doctors in Nepal how to do the surgeries we go over and perform.
“And as part of that project we are currently fundraising to build a hospital.
“So far we have raised $250,000 and are about half way there.”
President of the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie, John Sheppard said he was glad to be able to give Dr Hodgson his award.
“Ray is our Club’s new International Director and it is well deserved that he was awarded a Paul Harris Fellow,” Mr Sheppard said.
“He established the aid mission - Australians for Women’s Health in Nepal and each year Dr Ray conducts clinics with Nepalese women who suffer from a high level of pelvic organ prolapse.
“On top of this he is seeking to raise half a million dollars to build a new hospital in Charikot, in Nepal.
“The hospital will have a fourth floor dedicated to teaching the Nepalese how to treat themselves, training local doctors, nurses and health workers.”
The club donated $1000USD to the Rotary Foundation in honour of Dr Hodgson’s Paul Harris Fellow, with the money to be used in the many amazing aid projects Rotary is engaged in worldwide.