A Black Country doctor and university professor has won a new sustainability award set up in memory of an environmental champion.
Rashid Gatrad is the inaugural winner of the David Middleton Sustainability Award for his work founding and running World Against Single Use Plastic (WASUP) in 2017.
The organisation has since amassed a global reach and enlisted ambassadors in countries as far afield as India and Pakistan.
It also does campaigning and awareness raising work by talking to schools, litter picking and putting pressure on the suppliers about the dangers of plastic entering our food chain.
WASUP has also carried out more than 40 canal cleaning events with different companies including McDonald’s and Travis Perkins, driven by Prof Gatrad and backed by hundreds of volunteers.
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Prof Gatrad is a consultant paediatrician at the Manor Hospital in Walsall and also a professor of paediatrics and child health at the University of Wolverhampton and University of Kentucky.
The award was set up in memory of David Middleton who died last year.
He was a fervent supporter of the sustainability movement for many years and helped to launch the Midlands Environmental Business Club in 1991 and was also chief executive of the UK branch of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
After retiring in 2013, Mr Middleton continued his work by setting up and running the annual Sustainability conference in Birmingham and writing a series of stories themed on sustainable development.
This new award was launched by former colleagues, friends and his family to recognise and encourage a similar passion, enthusiasm and outstanding commitment to sustainable development.
The presentation to Prof Gatrad followed September’s David Middleton Sustainability Conference held in Birmingham.
His widow Jennie said: “David would have been delighted that this conference he had initially worked on was eventually held and also that it will continue annually in his name.
“He would also be amazed that there is an annual award in his memory. It is very fitting the first award was presented to Professor Gatrad as David was a great supporter of his work.”
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There were also three runners up.
They were Tony McNally, who has been actively campaigning for action on climate change for nearly 30 years, Lynsey Melville, professor of environmental engineering at Birmingham City University, and David Horsfall, who established Tyseley Energy Park in 2008.