A charity worker from Wirral has been honoured by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Cambodia for outstanding humanitarian work overseas.

Lou McGrath OBE, from Oxton, was decorated with the Medal Award Royal Order of Sahametrei from the Royal Government of Cambodia for his work in supporting victims of conflict through The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation in Cambodia.

Since its inception 11 years ago, The Foundation, under Lou's direction, has supported vital landmine and explosive clearance in the region, as well as establishing mine risk education and prosthetics training programmes and funding an Inclusive Vocational Training Centre for People with Disabilities in Pursat.

More recently they have been working towards the launch of a Safe Play initiative, which will provide mine-free areas for children to enjoy without risk of injury from explosive remnants of war (ERW).

Since 1979, a total of 64849 mine/ERW casualties were recorded by the Cambodia Mine Victim information systems across the whole country, with 19779 people killed, 36024 people injured and 9046 people amputated.

The Royal Order of Sahametrei is a chivalric order conferred by the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia and is bestowed primarily on foreigners who have rendered distinguished services to the King and to the people of Cambodia, particularly in the field of external relations and diplomatic services.

Wirral Globe:

From left: consort Simon Hutchence, Knutsford Town Mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner, Lou McGrath, Donna Moss-Seymour, Excellency Pharidh Kan and delegation. 

Lou McGrath has spent the last 35 years working with communities around the world whose lives have been affected by war and conflict.

He is a medal holder of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize and in 2008 was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen for his work on clearing landmines.

The award ceremony took place in Booths Hall, Knutsford where the charity is based, and was attended by Knutsford Town Mayor, Cllr Stewart Gardiner.

Commenting on the award, Lou said: "I am honoured and humbled to receive such a coveted award from the Kingdom of Cambodia.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank our trustees, our valued sponsors and of course Sir Bobby himself whose compassion and vision have enabled us to carry out this vital work in some of the most vulnerable communities in the world."

Sporting legend Sir Bobby Charlton may be best known for his prowess on the football pitch, not least helping to lead the English side to victory in the 1966 FIFA World Cup. 

Less known, though, is Sir Bobby’s admirable humanitarian work in the developing world through his charity, The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation (SBCF).

The not-for-profit organisation was established following a trip made by Sir Bobby to Cambodia, where he witnessed first-hand the devastating impact that landmines and the legacy of forgotten war were still having on innocent civilian communities.

The charity has since evolved to create a network of conflict recovery centres in a number of war-torn countries, delivering a holistic programme of physical and psychological rehabilitation to conflict affected communities.