Woodford House Old Girl Vi Cottrell, ONZM, co-founder of Trade Aid, has been named the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Woodford House Old Girls’ Tempus Award. The Tempus Award, now in its fourth year, recognises outstanding achievement by an Old Girl in her field. The Woodford House Old Girls’ Association was honoured to present Vi with this prestigious award on Saturday 4 November.
The event took place in the Bernard L Chambers Founders’ Room and was attended by Old Girls, including friends from Vi’s time at Woodford House, members of the Old Girls’ Association, current boarding students and the Principal, Mrs Julie Peterson.
Invited guests enjoyed the opportunity to hear about Vi’s time at Woodford House where she attended as a boarder from 1955-1958. Vi talked about a very different Woodford House than the School we know today, full of rules including no coughing in Chapel. Vi also spoke fondly of her English teacher, Miss Garnett, who inspired a love of reading for which she is grateful to this day.
‘I remember reading all night in the bath with a pillow behind my head’, recalled Vi.
Vi went on to speak about her life’s passion and work through Trade Aid, which was established over 40 years ago with her husband, Richard Cottrell following a trip to India. Together they travelled to Northern India and worked with Tibetan refugees in a resettlement programme where they came face-to-face with poverty and the injustices suffered by small producers, especially women. This experience inspired Vi and Richard’s commitment and passion to make the world a better place through Trade Aid.
Despite her extraordinary career and the significant impact Trade Aid has made on people’s lives, Vi remains very humble. Today, this successful organisation is one of the most notable fair trade businesses in New Zealand which positively impacts the lives of disadvantaged communities.
Vi has received numerous accolades as co-founder of Trade Aid, most notably a Queen’s Service medal in 1994 and being made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2017.
Mrs Andrea Jackson, Communications and Marketing Coordinator