Sikhs and people of Sikh heritage are amongst the many being honoured by Her Majesty the Queen in the New Year Honours List of 2021. The publication of the list comes at the end of what has been an incredibly difficult year as a result of the pandemic, and the main focus of the Honours has been on people who have played an important role in social welfare and healthcare throughout the UK.
Amongst the notable individuals is Tanjit Singh Dosanjh, who is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Prison Opticians Trust, providing eyecare services across British prisons and which has helped rehabilitate prisoners by providing them training in Optics as well as helping them secure paid work with opticians upon release. His leadership has helped to reduce reoffending levels, and he receives an OBE for his visionary work.
When he was asked about his honour, Tanjit said
I’m very proud that my work has been recognised by the Queen. I started work in this field in 2011, and in the early years, it was extremely difficult, but I managed to turn the negative of my father going to prison into a positive for wider society. Being a Sikh means having the resilience and strength to do what’s ultimately right, and I’m glad to have been able to make a bit of a difference. I’d like to thank the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trust and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for their support over the years.
Jinjer Kandola is Chief Executive of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust. She joined the Trust in 2018, and she has led an impressive response to the impact of the pandemic in the three North London boroughs on the mental health of patients, a significant proportion of whom are people of colour, and she receives an MBE for her work.
Another recipient is Dr Harnovdeep Singh Bharaj, who is a Consultant in General Medicine, Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust. Dr Bharaj pioneered the role of lay educator and diabetes support nurses for South Asians and developed a multidisciplinary clinic for young people with diabetes. He receives an MBE for his work in this field.
Other recipients of Sikh heritage in the list include:
• Lord Diljit Singh RANA MBE – Chairman, Andras House Ltd. For services to Business and to the Economy in Northern Ireland (Belfast, Belfast)
• Gary GREWAL – UK Liaison Officer. For services to Defence (London, Greater London)
• Rajinder TUMBER – Cyber Security Executive, Ernst and Young. For services to the Cyber Security Industry (London, Greater London)
• Daljit Singh GREWAL – For services to the community in West London, particularly during the Covid-19 Response (London, Greater London)
• Balbir SEIMAR – For services to the Homeless and to the community in Walsall, West Midlands (Walsall, West Midlands)
• Charandeep SINGH – Founder, The Sikh Food Bank. For services to Charity during the Covid-19 Response (Paisley, Renfrewshire)
Jasvir Singh OBE, Chair of City Sikhs, said
This year has seen all of us across the country and around the world find a renewed sense of appreciation for people involved in the healthcare professions, and as we come to the end of 2020, it is entirely fitting that the New Year Honours shines a light on people who have given their all for the health and wellbeing of society as a whole.
Notable interfaith allies of City Sikhs who have received honours from the Queen include Bhaven Pathak from the Yog Foundation who receives an MBE.
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