First ever non-white Queen’s representative honoured for third time
Dr Paul Sabapathy who broke new ground when he became the first non-white Lord-Lieutenant in its 550-year history has been honoured by Her Majesty for a third time.
Now a Trustee of renowned housing charity Bournville Village Trust, Dr Sabapathy was awarded the Companion of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
He has been presented with the prestigious CVO for his outstanding service to Her Majesty as Lord-Lieutenant of West Midlands, a role he held for over eight years from 2007.
The role saw Dr Sabapathy serve, with distinction, the region’s 3 million people as Her Majesty's personal representative, present awards on the Crown’s behalf and arrange Royal visits.
The 75-year-old was previously recognised with a CBE in 2004 for his contribution to business and higher education, and an OBE in 1995 for his work in urban regeneration.
Paul, who lives in Sutton Coldfield and is married with two children, said: “Words cannot express how hugely honoured and privileged I am to be honoured by Her Majesty for a third time.
“Having come to Birmingham 51 years ago from India, not knowing anyone, and then to be appointed as the first non-white Lord-Lieutenant was an amazing honour in itself.
“Now to be recognised with a Queen’s personal gift by being made a Companion of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) makes all my hard work truly rewarding.
“This achievement was only possible through the huge support and encouragement of my wife, Win, children John and Hannah, friends, Lieutenancy colleagues and the lovely people of the West Midlands.
“Thank you to everyone who helped in making this Award possible. This is your award as well.”
Duncan Cadbury, Chair of Bournville Village Trust, which Mr Sabapathy has been a Trustee of since 2006, said: “Paul is an incredibly active Trustee and his commitment and passion for our work has seen him become a true ambassador for the Trust.
“He is just as devoted to Bournville’s important legacy as he is to the work that we do today in building new homes and communities, offering unwavering support and encouragement.
“We are all very proud that Paul has been awarded a CVO, it is much-deserved.”
A qualified accountant and former NHS Chief Executive, Mr Sabapathy has held many high-profile positions during his long and rewarding career.
He was Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Governors of Birmingham City University, which saw him become the first non-white Chairman of a British University in 2002.
Paul is also a former President of Walsall Chamber of Commerce, again breaking new ground by becoming its first non-white president.
He was Chairman of Birmingham East and North Primary Care Trust (NHS) and West Midlands Industrial Development Advisory Board.
Paul also served on the Boards of the National Blood Authority, the Standards Board for England and Boards of both the Black Country and Birmingham Heartlands Development Corporations.
In addition, he has received various doctorates and medals, including Honorary Doctorates from Birmingham City University, Aston University and Birmingham University, as well as the Prestigious Lunar Medal by the world famous Lunar Society.
Born in India in 1942, Paul studied at the prestigious Lawrence School Lovedale and Madras Christian College before coming to the UK in 1964 and completing a Masters’ Degree in Industrial Administration at Aston University.
He joined IMI plc as its first non-white management trainee in 1968 and held senior director positions during a distinguished 28 year career and joined the NHS in Birmingham in 1996 as Chief Executive. He retired from the NHS in 2000.