34 people from across the West Midlands have been named in The Queen’s New Year Honours List, including music industry icon, Apache Indian.
- The List includes 1x Dame, 1x CBE, 4x OBE’s, 13x MBE’s and 15 people awarded a BEM (British Empire Medal).
- Each year The Queen recognises the extraordinary achievements of people from all walks of life and all ages, within our communities.
- In addition to these people who really make a difference to the lives of those around them, this year’s list also includes special mention of those who went above and beyond in supporting each other during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year’s recipients, who have made a significant contribution, made a positive impact and delivered significant outcomes, come from all across the West Midlands including: Birmingham (12), Coventry (3), Dudley (5), Sandwell (1), Solihull (4), Walsall (5) and Wolverhampton (4).
The Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree OBE said; “Making up the fabric of the West Midlands are some amazing people whose stamina, ambitions and work quietly deliver a better, brighter and kinder place. These people with big hearts are often known within their neighbourhoods but fail to gain the wider credit they deserve and never has this been more prevalent than during the Covid crisis.
“This year’s recipients showcase a range of outstanding achievements and provide an insight into the region and the people that make it so great. We are all very grateful for what they do each and every day and I am absolutely delighted to see so many gain the recognition they deserve in the New Year Honours.
“Through the activities of the West Midlands Lieutenancy, I come across many people providing support and giving their time to help others. Now more than ever, there are so many unsung heroes who deserve to be honoured but they need someone to nominate them. I would encourage people from across the region to get involved and think about who is making a difference in your local area so that we can continue to recognise these individuals for the great work they are doing.”
The individual honours are announced twice a year to mark The Queen’s official birthday in June (but were delayed this year due to the Covid pandemic) and at the end of December – the New Year Honours. Some 1,200 people are recognised in each list.
Below is a list of this year’s Honours recipients from across the West Midlands:
Steven Kapur BEM – also known as Apache Indian, 53 years old, Handsworth, Birmingham, West Midlands.
Founder, Apache Indian Music Academy.
Honour: For services to Music and to Young People.
- Kapur led the creation of a whole new genre combining musical elements of Indian, Reggae and Pop.
- He was one of the first artists in the world to publicly write about songs about several taboo subjects, such as alcohol addiction, arranged marriages, aids, racism, politics etc.
- He signed his first recording agreement with Universal Records in 1992, leading him to be the first British Asian Artist to enter the mainstream charts with his debut single, ‘Arranged Marriage’.
- His songs often emphasise sensitive topics, which challenge traditional values, while representing multicultural and multi-language, giving a voice to a new emerging generation in Britain.
- He has toured around the world eight times in thirty years, selling over 11 million albums worldwide, several top ten singles globally, with many songs being featured in top grossing Hollywood films.
Philip Cross MBE, 49 years old from Bilston, Wolverhampton.
Co-founder, Starcross Youth Theatre.
Honour: For services to Young People in Wolverhampton.
- Cross runs a theatre group transforming the lives of hundreds of underprivileged children in a significantly marginalised community, Willenhall, the second most deprived area in the West Midlands.
- He has set up the Starcross Theatre Company from scratch with his wife and a friend 27 years ago and has produced more than 34 plays with more than 1,000 parts for youngsters. He runs it on a voluntary basis not for profit.
- He is generally organising highly professional performances involving approximately 35 young people aged 5-21 years old involved at any time.
- He runs the group for 15 hours a week not including planning and admin time; and the children are being prepared and entered for the London Academy for Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) examinations so that it can be used for credit on applications for university.
- He arranges for performance licences, coordinates costumes, music and rehearsals, arranges the sound and lighting, publicity and tickets, creates the scenery, sourcing props from charity shops and directs the performances so that they are as professional as a West End show.
- He has also raised money for charities such as St Giles’ Church by holding carol services with these young people.
Elizabeth Corrigan BEM, 47 years old, Wolverhampton.
GPN Professional Lead, Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Groups.
Honour: For services to Nursing during Covid-19.
- Corrigan leads the work around GP Practice nursing across the Black Country and West Birmingham system and has developed the General Practice Nurse strategy for local GP nurses, enabling the work of GPNs to be recognised, supported and endorsed.
- She has been instrumental in developing staff swabbing hubs across the STP ensured policies and procedures were in place to support that;
- During Covid-19 she was instrumental in setting up and running the ‘drive through’ swabbing facility on the CCG car park; a facility that has received fantastic patient feedback for the streamlined process;
- She has demonstrated great leadership through this process and at a time when great clinical leadership was really needed.
Salma Bi BEM, 34 years old, Birmingham, West Midlands.
Honour: For services to Cricket and to Diversity in Sport.
- Bi began her cricket career in Warwickshire County Cricket Club.
- At the age of 22, trailing for Worcestershire County she became the first Asian Muslim girl to play for the County.
- She taught an Under 15 girls’ team and was awarded The Coach of the Year award at the club for her work on helping them get a promotion.
- Over the course of her coaching career she has coached over 1000 girls and nearly half of them have gone on to continue their own sporting careers.
- She leads an All Asian’s Women’s cricket team and they played for the White Ribbon Trophy against Combined Services Women Team to ‘bowl out domestic violence’, a historic fixture aimed at raising awareness about the issue of domestic abuse and violence against children and women.
Michael Ernest Braycotton BEM, 66 years old, West Midlands.
Secretary, Disability and Carers Community Network and Business Support Assistant, Criminal Justice Department, West Midlands Police.
Honour: For services to Policing.
- Braycotton is a Secretary of the West Midlands Police Disability and Carers Community (EnAble) network which supports West Midlands Police (WMP) in disability related matters.
- To improve awareness of the debilitating problems associated with diabetes, he was appointed the national point of contact and has been crucial in increasing the profile of ‘diabetes in policing’.
- In 2018, WMP were awarded Disability Confident Leader status by the Department for Work and Pensions, the highest level an organisation can achieve under the scheme.
- WMP is the first metropolitan force in the country to receive Disability Confident Leader status for supporting colleagues with disabilities.
- WMP won the ‘Positive Culture Change’ award at the Business Disability Forum Awards and were shortlisted for 2019. His tenacious work alongside key members of the diversity of thinking, skills and abilities has ensured a fair and equal workplace for everyone.
- At 65, he took on additional roles and responsibilities; Secretary for EnAble, Police Staff Vice President of Disabled Police Association; National DPA point of contact; Carers UK Workplace Champion and the Equality and WMP Diversity Unite Union.
Francis Hodgkinson BEM 79 years old, Brownhills, Walsall, West Midlands
Retired Governor, Brownhills School.
Honour: For services to Education in Walsall.
- He has made a selfless contribution to civic life by forming Brownhills Community Association and serving as its Director for over 42 years.
- He then helped establish Brownhills Community Association in 1980, which continues to flourish under his superb leadership.
- Over time it has provided adult classes, nursery provision and a youth club;community activity clubs; a community theatre; and courses for pupils at risk of school exclusion.
- His drive for supporting young people led him to become Chair of Governors at Brownhills Comprehensive two years later, he remained in that role for 25 years, until he became Vice Chair in 2005, a position held until his recent retirement.
Harry Mahmood BEM, 34 years old, Coventry, Warwickshire
Relief Manager, Wells Pharmacy, Darlaston.
Honour: For services to the community in the West Midlands, particularly during Covid-19.
- Mahmood works at the pharmacy in the town of Darlaston, in the West Midlands.
- When the pandemic hit and the national lockdown was imposed he undertook to ensure that all those who were unable to leave their homes received their prescriptions.
- He makes these deliveries in his off hours, before and after work and during his lunch break, alongside his 40 hour working week at the pharmacy serving those of the pharmacy’s 5,400 patients who are not able to come in person.
- Prior to COVID-19, he has supported underprivileged children with academic assistance and mentoring weekly on Sundays, and when schools were closed and e-learning was introduced by schools he created a zoom conference and online support group to ensure that those children received the support they needed to effectively participate in e-learning.
- He has volunteered as part of larger-scale initiatives, supporting the NHS as a volunteer Out of Hours responder and volunteering for a charity providing food to the homeless in Coventry.
Khakan Munir Qureshi BEM 51 years old, Wednesbury, West Midlands
Senior Independent Living Officer, Midland Heart.
For services to LGBT Equality
- Qureshi is the Founder of Birmingham South Asians LGBT ‘Finding a Voice’, an independent, non-funded, voluntary led, multi faith group for South Asian LGBT+ men and women aged 18+, hosted by the Birmingham LGBT Centre.
- The group has contributed to ‘Gaysian Faces’, which is a pioneer photography project showcasing Asian LGBTQ+ faces all around the world. The group also mobilized to take part in London Pride 2017 and Birmingham Pride and organized the first South Asian LGBT+ Conference in 2018.
- In February 2019, he organised the first LGBTIQ+ Intersectionality and Islam conference, hoping to inspire and empower LGBTIQ+ Muslims to accept themselves and, in one way or another, to create an environment for open dialogue in the community.
- He also writes articles about intersectionality, discrimination and prejudice for several of the largest digital online LGBT+ magazines in Europe, including Gay Star News, Attitude, FS Magazine and publications which are of interest to the South Asian diaspora.
- He is a Stonewall LGBT Schools Role Model, where he has spoken to over 2,000 pupils, and a Diversity Role Model, and engages in public speaking events across the UK.
- He has been shortlisted for the Positive Role Model LGBT Award at the National Diversity Awards 018, shortlisted for the campaigner of the year award at the European Diversity Awards 2016, and was included in the Independent’s Rainbow List.
Balbir Seimar BEM, 63 years old, Walsall, West Midlands.
Honour: For services to the Homeless and to the community in Walsall, West Midlands.
- Seimar’s time is devoted to three causes – homelessness, reducing crime and the environment.
- In her church community, she leads and inspires the women’s group who provide weekly food and chat to the Homeless providing much needed care, understanding and support.
- She sits on Walsall Police Strategic Community Reference Group (SCRG) helping to ensure the local community is represented and supported.
- She supported the Knife Crime Amnesty in Walsall in February 2019.
- She is also a ‘Stand by Me’ Ambassador whereby she promotes the reporting of ‘hate crime’ by supporting and encouraging people to come forward and feel safe to do so.
- She also plays a key role in an organisation called Walsall Against Single Use Plastic (WASUP).
- She has organised 20 regular Canal ‘clear ups’ where she has also encouraged groups of civil servants to take part, alongside private companies (e.g. MacDonald’s) to pick up litter and improve the environment for the community.
Gregory Silvester BEM, 44 years old, Wolverhampton, West Midlands.
Trustee, Special Olympics GB.
Honour: For services to People with Learning Disabilities in Sport.
- Silvester has Down’s Syndrome, and as well as being an excellent athlete himself, he has supported, raised awareness and transformed the lives of people with an Intellectual (Learning) disabilities in GB as a volunteer, coach, advocate and for nine years as a national charity Board trustee.
- He began training and competing in gymnastics with Special Olympics in 1986 at the age of 10.
- Ultimately, he represented Great Britain at a number of international competitions becoming gymnastics ‘All Round World Champion’ winning seven medals, including four Golds, at the 1995 Special Olympics World Games in Connecticut, USA.
- Having successfully switched sports, in 2009, he competed in table tennis at the Special Olympics GB National Games, winning one Gold and two Bronze medals.
- He has been doing “keep fit” with other people with intellectual disabilities during lockdown and was awarded the unsung hero award in October 2020.
Celebrate your region’s unsung heroes!
Visit www.gov.uk.honours for a nomination form which can be e-mailed or posted.
If you need help assessing whether your recommendation is strong enough or to complete the form, please contact Dale Guest, the West Midlands Honours Coordinator on 0121 222 5039 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org