29th September 2000




A Boston woman who has dedicated a quarter of a century to helping a poor region of Bangladesh is to be honoured by the University of Lincolnshire & Humberside.


Carmella Riddell set up the Jalchatra Project 25 years ago after television pictures  brought the suffering of the people of Bangladesh into sharp relief.


Now Lincolnshire’s university has announced it will recognise the work of the project in its silver jubilee year by awarding Carmella an honorary doctorate of letters. She will receive the honour at the university’s postgraduate awards ceremony at Lincoln cathedral at 2pm on Wednesday 15th November 2000.


“The university would like to pay tribute to the pioneering work that Carmella Riddell and the Jalchatra Project have done over the past 25 years,” said ULH spokesman Jez Ashberry.


“Her efforts have made a real difference to the lives of thousands of disadvantaged people in Bangladesh, and we hope that the award of this honorary degree will help to raise the profile of the very worthwhile work of the project.”


Carmella Riddell, of Freiston Road, Boston, set up the Jalchatra Project in 1975 after watching television pictures of famine and illness in Bangladesh. She made contact with an American priest who ministered to the people of the very poor Jalchatra area and began to raise funds for much-needed equipment and facilities.


Initially the fund sent money to buy small rower pumps so that the people could obtain water to grow crops. Twenty-five years on the people of Boston have paid for thousands of pumps as well as donating money for schools, a health centre, nurses, midwives and a centre for handicapped children.


In November Carmella will join an illustrious list of men and women who have been honoured by the University of Lincolnshire & Humberside. Others to have received honorary degrees include Michael Parkinson, the astronaut Michael Foale, Tony Jacklin, Lord Rix, Maureen Lipman, Baroness Castle, Sir Norman Foster, Lord Puttnam and John Godber.


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For more information or to arrange an interview contact:

Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager

University of Lincolnshire & Humberside (tel: 01522 886042)