CEO ‘blown away’ after receiving New Year’s honour

Dr Caroline Harper
Dr Caroline Harper

The CEO of an international charity, based in Haywards Heath, has been ‘blown away’ after being recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Dr Caroline Harper, from Haywards Heath, has been awarded with a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her services to visually impaired people across the globe.

Dr Harper is CEO of international charity Sightsavers which helps blind people in more than 30 countries around the world to see again and prevent others from losing their sight.

She said: “I was blown away to be honest with you when I was told I was getting the award. It was amazing.

“I am very proud and excited. I want to thank everyone at Sightsavers and the person who nominated me.

“It was a lovely surprise.”

Dr Harper has been working for the charity for the past ten years and has helped it grow both financially and in the support it gives.

Over the past year the charity has examined 12.8 million people and carried out more than 271,000 life changing operations.

She said: “It has grown a lot and we have been able to do a lot in that time.

“It has been a steady growth, from donations from small donators who give £20 a month to bigger donations from Government and International departments.

She added: “I have worked a lot in the countries we support. I think it is important to go out and meet the people whose lives we are affecting.

“We can also make sure the money people donate is going to the right place.”

Currently the charity is trying to eradicate Trachoma and River Blindness as well as develop health systems in countries less advanced.

But Dr Harper said the award was not just for her and wanted to dedicate it to the rest of her team.

She said: “It is not just about one person. I am looking at it as an award for Sightsavers.

“It wouldn’t be possible without the help and support from my team.”

Dr Harper added she will be celebrating the honour with her colleagues when she returns to worked next week.

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