A year of "unprecedented success" in fundraising and lobbying of governments worldwide about the importance of clean water has resulted in WaterAid being named Charity Of The Year at this year's UK Charity Awards.

The major international development group won out from a shortlist of four, thanks to its remarkable achievements in winning public support through several high profile partnership campaigns.

In 2002/2003 WaterAid enjoyed its most successful fundraising year in 21 years, with income exceeding 17m and donations from all sources increasing dramatically, while it also successfully lobbied the UN to declare water as a human right.

The judges praised the charity for achieving such "staggering results in a cause which is fundamental to life wherever you are in the world".

"It has wielded a lot of political influence both here and abroad, and produced a huge increase in support from the public, the corporate sector, and from government over the past year".

Also victorious on the night was Ian Bruce, who retires this year from his role as director-general at the RNIB. He was honoured with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award following 20 years of high achievement in the sector.

Ian was the first ever charity chief executive to be made a Companion of the British Institute of Management in recognition of his outstanding achievements in leadership.

The judges praised Ian for his length of commitment and breadth of activities, commenting on his work as "magnificent", saying: "He is an inspiration in terms of leadership and can truly be considered a giant of the charity sector."

Another individual winner was 16-year-old schoolgirl Camilla Macready Pay, who was named Youth Volunteer of the Year after putting together more than 20 projects in her own school, from a fashion show fundraising event to a peer-mentoring scheme.

Other winners include the Save The World Club, which was named Best New Charity for its work with disadvantaged children in Surrey, and The National Trust, who took the Fundraising Campaign of the Year prize for raising millions to save the historic Tyntesfield estate near Bristol.

The awards comprise 15 categories in all, and attracted a huge number of nominations from a wide range of charities - from household names such as the Fairtrade Foundation, Terrence Higgins Trust, Amnesty International, and Marie Curie Cancer Care, to newer and regional groups from across the UK such as QED, The Willow Foundation, Caroline's Rainbow Trust, and Contact A Family.

Nick Capeling, chair of the judging panel and editor of Charity Times, says: "The awards continue to highlight the progress made by the charity sector in its professionalism, and to reward the wonderful work being done by groups across the UK.

"The sector is now taking centre stage in modern society, as it plays an ever more important role in service delivery. We are delighted the UK Charity Awards helps showcase the extremely high standards of best practice being set."

The UK Charity Awards took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel London, and the event was presented by TV entertainer Paul O'Grady.

In this annual event for the UK's charity and non-profit sector, winners are selected by an independent panel drawn from leading charity professionals, including former BBC newsreader and Youthnet founder Martyn Lewis CBE and Margaret Vallance of the Home Office. The awards are organised by Charity Times.

The event, now in its fourth year, is the largest in the UK to honour the achievements of the charity sector, and this year is being filmed for digital broadcast by BBC Training Development.

Full List of Winners:
Charity of the Year WaterAid
Lifetime Achievement Award Ian Bruce, RNIB
Personality of the Year Simon Cowell, Wildlife Aid
Best New Charity Save The World Club
Principal of the Year Christie Peacock, FARM-Africa
Fundraising Manager of the Year Nick Beanland, William Sutton Trust
Fundraising Campaign of the Year The National Trust
Corporate Partnership of the Year Get Connected/The Carphone Warehouse
Volunteer of the Year Helena Jones, National Kidney Research Fund
Youth Volunteer of the Year Camilla Macready Pay, TimeBank
Charity Internet Site of the Year MS Society
Best Practice Award St Anns Hospice
Corporate Community Involvement Coca Cola Bottlers (Ulster)
Fundraising & IT Services Award Cascaid Group
Financial Services Award Heath Lambert Insurance Services

Full details of all the categories, plus profiles of the four shortlisted candidates for each award, are available at

For more details on the Awards, and contact details of the winners, call Jenni Williams on 020 7426 0424, or email
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