A former president and member of Halstead Rotary club has been awarded the highest recognition possible.

Mike Harrington Spier has received the the Paul Harris Fellowship for his services and involvement in securing a £1.25 million donation to the Rotary Foundation UK.

The donation was made by Helen Ruddock back in 2015 when she passed away aged 96.

Mr Spier, a friend and former pupil of Ms Ruddock, had played a key role in completing the paperwork and legal requirements to secure the donation.

Ms Ruddock, who was a pianist and singer from Bury St Edmunds, choose to leave her legacy to the Rotary Foundation after seeing the important work the club does for communities.

Mr Spier was handed the Paul Harris Fellowship by district governor Nick Sillitoe and Halstead Rotary president Keith Brownlie during a special dinner.

He said: “It’s a great honour to receive the award. It was such a surprise, I really wasn’t expecting it.

“Having worked with children and helped people throughout all of her life, Helen gained a huge amount of satisfaction in knowing the money would be going towards providing clean water to those in need.

“I am just delighted for Helen that we found a way to make her wishes comes true.”

As requested by Helen, the money she donated has gone towards funding clean water and sanitation projects in Sub Sahara Africa.

Tony Sale, Halstead Rotary Club Public Relations officer, said: “There was a lot to sort out when the donation was made because documents went backwards and forwards to America.

“Mike took it upon himself to deal with all of the complications with the donations and he had to be quite tenacious.

“His loyalty to the club and his friend, Helen, shone through and he deserves the award.”