Water boss awarded 
OBE for charity brand

Managing director of Harrogate Water Brands James Cain, who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's birthday honours list, and his wife Nicky. (S)
Managing director of Harrogate Water Brands James Cain, who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's birthday honours list, and his wife Nicky. (S)
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The man at the helm of Harrogate’s famous bottled water company has received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

James Cain, the managing director of Harrogate Water Brands, was given the accolade not for giving the world one of its most stylish bottled water brands, but for services to impoverished communities, through the company’s Thirsty Planet bottled spring water brand.

A guaranteed 4p from every litre of Thirsty Planet sold is donated to Pump Aid, a British charity that helps rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa to have a constant source of safe, clean, drinkable water.

Since it was launched in 2007, Thirsty Planet has raised £1.8m for Pump Aid by selling over 40 million bottles of spring water through retail, foodservice and vending partners including Asda and Waitrose, as well as onboard Thomson Airlines.

On learning of his award, Mr Cain said: “I’m absolutely delighted and incredibly proud to have been awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen. It is a tremendous honour and most importantly, it is a reflection of all the hard work and dedication of every person who works for Harrogate Water Brands and every supporter of Thirsty Planet and Pump Aid.

“Whilst I shall be collecting the award at Buckingham Palace, it will be on behalf of all of my family and colleagues involved with the business.”

Thirsty Planet’s consistent monthly donations have helped ensure that Pump Aid has the financial security to plan ahead and expand operations.

Since starting as a small community project in Zimbabwe, Pump Aid has grown into one of the leading water charities in Africa, having raised more than £15m since inception. Its aim is to help tackle unsafe water which remains Africa’s biggest killer of children, claiming 4,000 young lives a day.

Mr Cain’s wife, marketing manager Nicky Cain, said his impact in supporting Pump Aid extended far beyond his role in helping to set up Thirsty Planet.

“Throughout, his commitment to Pump Aid has remained unwavering,” she said.