A community police officer from Bradford is just one of the many Yorkshire residents who have been honoured in this year’s Queen’s Birthday List.
PC Yasvender Rehill, who has been serving with West Yorkshire Police for the past 27 years, was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to policing and community engagement.
The 52-year-old has been an ever-present on the streets of Bradford for almost three decades, spending 16 years as a Special Constable and 11 as a Police Constable.
Just last year he was commended as one of the county’s ‘street level heroes’ picking up the Diversity in Action Award for helping to develop strong ties in communities, yet this latest recognition is something which came as a ‘huge surprise’ for the officer.
“I had no idea at all that I was going to get this honour,” he said. “It was a big surprise and I am very proud.”
The Community Prevention Engagement Officer currently works within the BD3 and BD4 areas of Bradford, liaising with different communities and places of worship to communicate with faith leaders and worshippers.
He also runs boxing sessions for young people, in schools and places of worship, to engage them in positive activity, something he says he hopes will help promote his line of work amongst the youth.
He continued: “I aim to be a role model within the community and I hope this (being named on the Queen’s Birthday List) will promote our work and encourage more people to join the force.”
As well as PC Rehill, several other Yorkshire representatives have been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen in her latest thousand-strong list.
Kavita Oberoi was awarded an OBE for her services to entrepreneurship and start-up businesses.
Within the past 12 months, the former University of Huddersfield graduate has been operating a business hub to help start-up companies as well as launching an enterprise academy at Burton College.
Mrs Oberoi, from Bradford, said she was shocked to have received the award, and dedicated it to her mother, Kalish Vasdev, who she thanked for pushing her into education and to chase her dreams.
“I thought these awards were only given out to people when they are in their seventies and eighties so yes it did come as a big surprise,” the 44-year-old said.
“I dedicate it to my mum because I came from a background where girls weren’t really supposed to go out and get educated and get a good job.
“After my father died, my mother pushed me into my studies and work and helped me break barriers which women, certainly in my family, had never broken through before.”
Elsewhere, Kirklees Council’s community cohesion project officer and avid community worker, Habiban Zaman, was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to women in North Kirklees.
Ms Zaman, from Dewsbury, has been instrumental in providing support to women across the whole region, setting up support groups and dealing with taboo subjects across different cultures.
She said she thought it must have been a ‘prank’ when she received the letter and called it a ‘humbling experience’.
“I didn’t really believe it to be honest,” she said.
“I was deeply touched to be recognised in such a way and very humbled. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my mother who has really been an inspiration for me throughout my life.”
In total 1,149 people were recommended to the Queen for an award.