James Bertram, who was brought up in Wishaw, during his recent trip to India.
A kind-hearted Wishaw-born man has recently returned from an inspirational trip to India.
James Bertram – who moved from Newmains to Staffordshire a decade ago – spent 10 days in the country’s poorer northern regions helping the homeless and impoverished.
Former Wishaw High School pupil James (45) – who was the operations manager at Skelly’s in Motherwell prior to moving south – is a tireless charity worker, having raised over £45,000 for a variety of good causes during the last few years.
He explained: “I became involved with Punjabi Wolves – a large group of ethnic fans who follow Wolverhampton Wanderers – earlier this year and assisted with efforts on their Project India.
“This included a rickshaw ride to Buckingham Palace in London during the Jubilee celebrations which raised £1000 and culminated in last month’s trip to India.”
The 10 days James spent in India were exhausting but also rewarding.
During his time there he helped dig out foundations and lay the first course of bricks for new houses at a leper colony, distributed food, drinks and gifts to children at an orphanage and assisted with the demolition by hand of a derelict house, preparing the site for a new two-storey build.
James continued: “This particular house accommodated five people in one room and two cows in the kitchen.
“The process was delayed by one day after a villager was unfortunately killed by snakebite and work was only carried out after villagers had welcomed us and shared garlands to wish for our safety.
“In the poorest regions conditions of sanitation and washing facilities were appalling.
“However the people were so welcoming it made the work much easier and the children followed us around the village like the Pied Piper.
“It was absoulutely priceless witnessing their smiling faces at the work we had done.”
And James is already working on his next fundraising venture – a rickshaw ride to Paris!