Water charity makes £1m

Chris Hill An ethical entrepreneur from Norfolk who quit a high-flying advertising career to help drought-ridden African villages has reached a £1m fundraising milestone.

Chris Hill

An ethical entrepreneur from Norfolk who quit a high-flying advertising career to help drought-ridden African villages has reached a £1m fundraising milestone.

Duncan Goose, brother of Waking the Dead actress Claire, remortgaged his home and borrowed from friends and family to set up his humanitar-ian business, Global Ethics, in 2004.

The 39-year-old paid himself an annual salary of just £6,000 while all the profits from the company's bottled water brand One were funnelled into innovative pumping stations for some of the world's poorest communities.

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Now, three years after production started, the proceeds have paid for the installation of 187 Playpumps - a system which draws underground water using the movement of children playing on roundabouts.

Mr Goose, who grew up with his sister in Dersingham, said the money raised by his company had given almost half a million people access to clean, sustainable and safe drinking water.

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Speaking yesterday from Mont-real, where he is meeting retail-ers in a bid to expand his brand in the USA and Canada, he said the achievement was just the first step towards his goal of raising £20m per year by 2020.

“It is an amazing milestone for everyone involved,” he said. “We set out to sell one bottle or change one life, so to reach £1m is great, but it is business as usual. It is a nice number which people can relate to but our goal is to put a pump in every day and we are moving in the right direction. For me it is about changing lives one person at a time. Every day we improve on that is a good day in my book, but we can do it bigger, faster and better.

“The biggest impact we have made is in providing communities with sustainable water solutions, but also it creates a generational change which empowers children and enables them to spend more time at school to get out of the poverty cycle.

“There are 2,300 rural communities in southern Africa which don't have water, so it is a big challenge, but we are patient people. Frustrated sometimes, but patient.”

Mr Goose's sister Claire - who is set to return to TV screens on August 6 in her new role as Sgt Rachel Weston in police drama The Bill - also acts as an ambassador for the company and has been instrumental in gathering celebrity support for the campaign.

During a break from filming, she said: “Duncan sent a text last week to everyone who had been involved since the beginning and it made me feel really emotional.

“A year ago we were funding pumps every 11 days. Now it is every three days and Duncan's goal is to be putting them in every day.

“I really think it is possible, certainly with someone like Duncan who is so driven. Duncan is never laid back - he is always pushing for the next goal and has the ability to get people ignited and involved.”

Mr Goose won a TV award for his campaigning last year when he was honoured alongside the Queen, Helen Mirren and David Beckham as one of the Greatest Living Britons.

He hopes to expand One water, already sold at most UK super-markets, into a worldwide brand and plans to launch a brand of condoms later this year to help prevent the spread of HIV and educate African people about the virus.

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