The brothers from Blackburn, whose parents moved to the UK from Gujarat in the 1970s, own the Euro Garages chain of petrol stations as part of their EG Group business.
The “most ethnically diverse” Queen’s Birthday Honours List was published on Saturday by a pair of Indian-origin billionaire twins, leading Oxford University scholars and a septuagenarian fundraiser fondly known as the Skipping Sikh.
Zuber and Mohsin Issa, who recently made headlines for their multi-million – pound purchase of the UK retail chain Asda, were both awarded for CBEs for corporate and charitable services. The brothers from Blackburn, whose parents moved from Gujarat to the United Kingdom in the 1970s, own the Euro Garages chain of petrol stations as part of their EG Group business.
They are joined by Yadvinder Singh Malhi, Professor of Ecosystem Science at Oxford University, who receives the CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his services in ecosystem science. Earlier this year, Malhi was appointed Trustee of the Natural History Museum in London.
The OBE (Official of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) honored British Indians include Nilay Shah, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London for Decarbonization of the UK Economy, and Dr. Sanjiv Nichani, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Healing Little Hearts for Medical and Charity Services.
The list, which had been deferred from its regular early June release to consider appointments of people who played a crucial role during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, includes a number of British Indians in this category led by Rajinder Singh Harzall.
The 74-year-old ‘Skipping Sikh’ receives an MBE (Member of the British Empire Order) for his inspiring health and fitness videos during the lockdown. Harzall, who has raised nearly 14,000 pounds for the National Health Service (NHS), is joined by Lavina Mehta, who also receives an MBE for services to health and fitness during COVID-19 for her work encouraging people to stay active during the lockdown.
“The hard work and dedication of these local, often unsung heroes have helped carry us through,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. Among other community, heroes celebrated for their work during lockdown is Sandeep Singh Daheley, who receives his MBE for taking the initiative to create an online portal for prayers whilst gurdwaras were closed, to keep the community spirit alive for British Sikhs.
Among MBE recipients recognised for their wider community work are Manjit Kaur Gill, founder of Binti, for services to the provision of menstrual products to women in developing countries, the UK and the US; dance teacher Pushkala Gopal for services to South Asian dance; Vasant Patel, Senior Policy Officer at the Department for Education, for services to adopted children and their families; and Baljeet Kaur Sandhu, founder of the Centre for Knowledge Equity, for services to equality and civil society.
The honours list, which is traditionally published to coincide with the 94-year-old British monarch’s official birthday celebrations in early June, showcases 414 exceptional contributions of unsung heroes in all four nations of the United Kingdom in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These recipients include Sir Captain Tom Moore, the World War II veteran who also served in India and became a hero earlier this year with his achievement of raising millions of pounds for the NHS by doing laps around his own garden using a walking frame.
However, the majority of the list, dubbed a “bumper list” this year for making up 1,495 honours, was compiled before the ongoing pandemic and 72 per cent go to those who have worked tirelessly for their local community.
The UK Cabinet Office, in charge of compiling the list, said it reflects the huge voluntary effort across the country in response to COVID-19, with recipients cumulatively supplying millions of free meals and clocking up countless voluntary hours to support those at risk, with 13 percent of recipients from a minority ethnic background.
(With Inputs PTI)