Tag Archive: Her Majesty’

First ever non-white Queen’s representative honoured for third time

Leave a Comment


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.


A memorable MBE: Dementia hero’s work is recognised by Her Majesty

Leave a Comment
PROUD MOMENT: Mohammed with his family; Atheeqa, 18, Ruaqayyah, 14 and Haroon, 11

PROUD MOMENT: Mohammed with his family; Atheeqa, 18, Ruaqayyah, 14 and Haroon, 11

A Bradford Council worker has visited the capital this week for a meeting with the Queen, after being awarded an MBE for his outstanding work in dementia.

Batley-born Mohammed Akhlak Rauf, 44, who now lives and works in Bradford, was personally thanked by Her Majesty the Queen on 5th November.

A single dad with three children - Atheeqa 18,  Ruqayyah 14  and son Haroon 11 – his own mother and father came to the UK from Kashmir, Pakistan in 1960’s.

Mohammed said: “Education was always important to them and they pushed for me to study and work hard.”

A personal reason led Mohammed to work in this particular sphere, as his own grandma died from dementia at a time when no-one diagnosed it for his family.

“I wanted to ensure other families were not left in the same situation,” Mohammed added.

INCREDIBLE ACHIEVEMENT: Mohammed Rauf, from Bradford, has been recognised for his tireless work in dementia

INCREDIBLE ACHIEVEMENT: Mohammed Rauf, from Bradford, has been recognised for his tireless work in dementia

After setting up the Meri Yaadain Dementia Team in 2006, Mohammed has been overseeing its day-to-day operations ever since.  

Translated to ‘My Memories’, Meri Yaadain was set up to raise awareness of dementia amongst South Asian families, so that people living with the condition, and their carers, could live better informed lives and make informed choices.

This pioneering work has been recognised on a national scale, scooping a number of awards, with Mohammed helping to replicate similar projects in a number of other cities.

Despite his success to date, Mohammed admits that he is always learning.

“I am studying part-time for a PhD at the Dementia Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Bradford whilst juggling my job at the council,” he said.

“My studies are researching how South Asian carers manage the transitions of care when looking after someone with dementia.  My Phd is also supported by a carer or ‘Expert by Experience’, called Shahid Mohammed, from Rochdale.”

The Meri Yaadain team provide information and support to people who are at risk of dementia, as well as those who have had a diagnosis. It also helps people in the general community to understand what dementia is.

Mohammed says there are still stigmas associated with mental ill health issues and therefore runs workshops and a monthly support group, as well as a website and a Twitter account to reach out to younger people.

His charity’s internet blog is the latest addition to raising awareness through information.

To receive an MBE for all of his efforts was something ‘extra special’ and ‘unexpected’.

“My MBE honour is for ‘Services to people with dementia and their carers,” Mohammed said.

“It is humbling because I like to think that we do what we do because that is what should be done – but to be recognised in this way and to be thanked by Her Majesty the Queen is the icing on the cake for the work that I and colleagues have been doing over the last almost 11 years.”

Mohammed now tries to work with other regional and national players in the field of dementia to make sure that Black and Minority Ethnic Communities are not forgotten about when talking about dementia.

“I am working towards connecting the work I do for Meri Yaadain and my academic research so that we can move it from a local initiative to a national one.

“In future, I hope inequalities can be challenged by creating both equity and equality for all our communities.

“I would like to thank Bradford Council for giving me the ‘freedom’ to get Meri Yaadain to a level where the work has earned me an MBE but in particularly I accept it in the name of all the carers and the people with Dementia that I and my colleagues have worked with over the years.”

For more information about dementia, please visit www.meriyaadain.co.uk


‘Happy Birthday Her Majesty’

Leave a Comment
COVER STAR: Ayesha Akhtar is all smiles with her winning design on the front of the Radio Times celebratory issue

COVER STAR: Ayesha Akhtar is all smiles with her winning design on the front of the Radio Times celebratory issue

Bradford girl’s birthday card becomes iconic cover image

Not many eight-years-olds can say they have had a drawing published on the front of a renowned national magazine cover, yet one Bradford schoolgirl can do just that.

Ayesha Akhtar pipped 11,000 other entries from across the UK to land the cover image on the latest celebratory edition of Radio Times – designed to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday.

The competition, launched in March, asked children from across the country to a design birthday card for the Queen for the chance to feature on the iconic front cover.

It was up to judges - writer and illustrator Judith Kerr, Blue Peter presenter Lindsey Russell, BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz, Radio Times Editor Ben Preston and Radio Times Art Director Shem Law - to select the winning picture.

Ayesha’s award-winning entry, an eye-catchingly purple and gold majestic crown design, was a unanimous choice for the judges.

Judith Kerr said: “Ayesha’s drawing will work brilliantly on the cover.  I think the Queen would approve.”

Blue Peter’s Lindsey Russell added: “I wanted to find a cover that felt like a celebration – Ayesha’s design really does that.”

CLASSY DESIGN: Ayesha is a student at Dixons Manningham Academy

CLASSY DESIGN: Ayesha is a student at Dixons Manningham Academy

On being presented with her winning cover, Ayesha said she could not believe she had won with her sparkling design.

“I feel elated and I’m so happy that the Queen will get to see my way of drawing,” she added.

“I came up with my design because the Queen wears her crown at special occasions - like birthdays.

“I did it in pencil first and then went over it in paint and glitter.

“If I met the Queen, I’d tell her how kind she is and that she’s the best Queen in the world.”

Thousands of entries were submitted for the competition and judged across three age groups – eight-years-old and under, 9-12, and 13-18 years.

Nadia Charawala, aged 12 years old from Worcester Park, won the 9-12 year category, with a patriotic tea cup design, whilst Emily Gorton, aged 13 of Epsom, won the 13-18 year old category, with a vivid red, white and blue bunting design.

Ben Preston, Radio Times Editor, praised the enthusiasm shown toward the project.

He said: “Does the Queen still hold a place in the affections of the young?

“There is no more eloquent answer to this question than a teetering tower of cardboard boxes that grew steadily in a corner of the Radio Times office over the past month.  

“The results are a joy. Corgis, handbags, crowns, red buses, horses, carriages and hundreds of smiling, benevolent grey-haired ladies.

“Here is proof of an enduring, shared affection among a new generation for the Queen.  Many congratulations - and thanks - to everyone who took part.”

The winning design is featured on the front cover of the new issue of Radio Times, with the age category winning designs featured on the inside pages, alongside the 6 runners-up in each category.


Hitting the Royal High notes

Leave a Comment
SOVEREIGN SINGERS: Pupils at Wibsey Primary School are ‘wearing their crown with pride’

SOVEREIGN SINGERS: Pupils at Wibsey Primary School are ‘wearing their crown with pride’

Wibsey Primary pupils pen Her Majesty a melody

The Queen is so regal that she manages to squash in two birthdays a year.

On 21st April, Her Majesty turned 90 whilst her second official birthday falls this month on 11th June.

What better way for her to celebrate than to have primary school children pen Her Royal Highness an original birthday song?

At a major civic event in Bradford’s Centenary Square, pupils from Wibsey Primary School in Bradford will be singing at the tops of their voices to mark the birthday event.

Along with schools from across the UK, they will be singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the Queen and the National Anthem at their school at 11am on Friday 10th June.

The songs will be sung as part of a Queen’s 90th birthday street party in the school playground.

Pupils will be dressed in party clothes and be asked to bring a silver coin for Foodbanks – a fund-raising idea proposed by the School Council.

At the Centenary Square civic event, later on the same day, pupils will sing the winning birthday songs entered in a Song Competition.

Wibsey Primary children will sing with a well-deserved sense of pride because their school managed to win the primary school song category.

Their winning song, called ‘Wear your crown with pride’, will be sung at the event, attended by local dignitaries and people in the city centre.

It was written by Wibsey’s ‘Raise Your Voice’ choir.

The celebration will also include raising the Union Flag as part a national event around the UK, called One Britain, One Nation (OBON).

Karen Yates, Acting Headteacher at Wibsey Primary, said: “We are delighted our song has won the Bradford primary school Queen’s birthday song competition.

“Wibsey Primary is well-known for the quality of its music and singing and we are proud that our song for the Queen’s 90th birthday will play a prominent role, and be heard by hundreds of people, at a very prestigious event in the city centre.”

The inspiration for the OBON events came from Kash Singh, a former Bradford police inspector.

He suggested schools sing the National Anthem and for civic events to be held on the Queen’s official 90th birthday so people of all ages, faiths, beliefs and backgrounds will come together to show that Britain is a unified nation which shares core British values.

In Bradford, the Music and Arts Service ran a Song Competition for primary and secondary schools and an Art Competition to produce banners celebrating the special birthday, which will be displayed in Centenary Square.


Bake Off champ makes Her Majesty’s 90th birthday sponge

Leave a Comment
Programme Name: The Great British Bake Off - TX: 30/09/2015 - Episode: n/a (No. 9) - Picture Shows: Nadiya - (C) Love Productions - Photographer: Mark Bourdillon

Programme Name: The Great British Bake Off - TX: 30/09/2015 - Episode: n/a (No. 9) - Picture Shows: Nadiya - (C) Love Productions - Photographer: Mark Bourdillon

Nadiya bakes Queen’s cake

Leeds’ own baking royalty, Nadiya Hussain, cemented her title as ‘queen of the kitchen’ this week after baking and personally presenting the Queen’s official 90th birthday cake.

The 31-year-old mother-of-three shot to fame last year after clinching the prestigious Great British Bake Off title and has become a role model for hijab-wearing Muslims across the country.

Upon announcing her latest royal appointment, she wrote on Twitter: “Thanks everyone for all the lovely messages. I'm still pinching myself. But I am so honoured to [have] been asked #Queenat90.”

Prior to the sweet unveiling, Nadiya revealed that the cake would not be a traditional fruit cake, but rather consist of an orange drizzle with lashings of orange curd and a coating of orange butter cream.

Delivered personally to her Royal Highness at Windsor Castle’s Guildhall on Thursday 21st April, the Queen even cut into one layer of the three-tiered creation, much to the delight of the gathered crowds, and Nadiya herself.

She said: “My theory was that if lemon drizzle was good enough for Mary Berry we could change it up for the Queen.

“She asked me what was in the cake. She asked me if it would cut. I'd seen the problems she'd had at the Women's Institute that she couldn't cut the cake so I guess she was thinking about that too. 

“That's what I wanted - for her to cut it, so I didn't make a fruit cake. It was three tiers, 12 cakes, 42 eggs and it took four days to make.”

HM Quen Elizabeth II cuts her 90th birthday cake (1024x640) (800x535)

It was Nadiya’s trademark facial expressions and skills in the kitchen that put her head and shoulders above the rest in the Bake Off series, despite literally being just five feet tall.

Her constant championing of the hijab earned her the title of ‘role model’ from Muslim communities and, she previously told the Asian Express, it is something she takes great pride in achieving.

Union-Jack-HD-Top-Wallpaper-With-Awesome-England-Flying-Flag (800x450)

“I have been praised as a Muslim role model and that is such a wonderful thing,” she said.

“What I do hope I can inspire people to do, is to believe in their own abilities and believe that dreams can become reality, through hard work, determination and simply believing that they can.”





nadiya hussain (800x265)
READ ALSO >>> THE QUEEN’S 90TH BIRTHDAY: Things you need to know about Her Majesty



THE QUEEN’S 90TH BIRTHDAY: Things you need to know about Her Majesty

Leave a Comment

Her Majesty marked her 90th birthday by meeting some of the thousands of well-wishers with the Duke of Edinburgh by her side on Thursday 21st April.

Achieving a milestone as Britain's oldest and longest-reigning monarch, she usually celebrates this day in private and has a more public celebration in June. 


HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Her Majesty the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday in Windsor on Thursday 21st April


On her walkabout in Windsor she received armfuls of cards, bouquets of flowers and even a cake as she acknowledged the greetings of the crowds for this historic milestone for the monarch.

By her side was 94-year-old Prince Philip, her husband of 69 years, with whom she has four children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

But this is only one of the two birthday celebration for Her Majesty. For four nights next month there will be a musical pageant in Windsor, involving 900 horses and some 1,500 actors, dancers and musicians, celebrating the queen's nine decades.

On June 11th comes the monarch's "official" birthday, traditionally marked by the Trooping the Colour military parade.

This year there will also be a service at St. Paul's Cathedral and a huge street party in the Mall outside Buckingham Palace for members of charities the queen supports. The government has even given pubs permission to stay open later on June 10th and 11th, until 1 a.m. instead of the standard 11 p.m.



  • The Queen has two birthdays – the 21st April marks the date she was born. She also gets another knees up on 11th June - that’s known as her official birthday.
  • She became Queen at the age of 25.
  • HM Queen Elizabeth II is Britain’s longest reigning monarch and has seen off 12 prime ministers during her reign.
  • Rumour has it if she wants to leave a dinner in five minutes, she puts her bag on the table to indicate to her staff that she’s ready to leave. She moves it from arm to arm to tell aides she is tired of talking to someone.
  • She has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign, her first one, Susan, was an 18th birthday present.
  • Prince Philip’s pet names for The Queen are said to include ‘sausage’ and ‘cabbage’.
  • She made her first public speech when she was 14, when children were being evacuated for safety reasons.
  • She loves a crime thriller. Some of her favourite authors are PD James, Agatha Christie and Dick Francis.
  • She has her own train but usually travels round the UK by helicopter or RAF aircraft.
  • She’s head of state of 15 Commonwealth countries: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Papua New Guinea, St Christopher and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuvalu, Barbados, Grenada, Solomon Islands, St Lucia and The Bahamas.
  • Most Wednesdays, at 6.30pm, she has a meeting with the Prime Minister. Nobody except the two of them knows what is said during this time – these meetings are confidential.
  • She’s the patron of more than 600 charities.

READ ALSO>>  Bake Off champ challenged with Her Majesty’s 90th birthday sponge