The Queen’s Awards go to Walsall!

A bright but chilly winter day sets the tone for today’s visit.

I meet up with fellow presenters Martyn Lewis and Lesley Bainsfair at Walsall railway station where we are driven by Colin to Walsall College.

Paul Sabapathy
Paul Sabapathy: Lord Lieutenant West Midlands.

There has been a huge amount of work put into the day’s programme by Lord Lieutenant for West Midlands Paul Sabapathy. He has tailored a great programme and Walsall College is a perfect venue with its vibrancy and energy.

Paul welcomes everyone, runs through the purpose of the event and introduces Brian Lowe, Chair of Corporation, Walsall College for a few warm words.

Next up is Lesley Bainsfair, Head of Honours and Appointments Secretary at the Cabinet Office, Lesley gives a brilliant presentation and dispels a few myths about the Honours system.

I’m on next and speak about our Queen’s Awards for Enterprise and also have a bash at deflating some myths.

  • No you don’t need to be a huge manufacturing company
  • No you don’t need to be employing a giant workforce
  • Yes, you can enter if you’re a UK-based company with 2 or more full-time employees
  • We welcome entries from all types of business, traditional and modern
Bob Dunthorne - Hadley Group
Bob Dunthorne - Hadley Group

I am followed by Bob Dunthorne from the Hadley Group speaking about how he successfully put together his own entry for Hadley’s patented steel strengthening UltraSTEEL product. There was a lot of very useful information given by Bob.

Martyn Lewis brings a reassuring authority to everything he does. He effortlessly delivers facts and figures about the Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service.

Martyn Lewis
Martyn Lewis - Queen's Awards for Voluntary Service

He follows this by interviewing a couple of winners of this Award - Camilla Phillips from the Hope Centre and Sunny Dhadley from SUIT (Service User Involvement Team). Both interviewees deliver messages of hope and inspiration sprinkled with much laughter throughout!

Camilla from Hope Central
Sunny Dhudley
Sunny Dhudley - SUIT

The Questions and Answers throughout the morning cause the event to overrun … this means that Jatinder Sharma, the Principal of Walsall College, sums up 10 years of college achievements in 5 minutes … so we could all have lunch! Such a noble gesture delivered by a real professional.

Walsall students standing behind a sign saying 'We are outstanding'
Jatinder Sharma, Principal Walsall College

Lord Lieutenant Paul Sabapathy tied the day up in his usual warm style asking everyone to go away and think about a person or business they could recommend for a Queen’s Award or Honour.

I wish we had more people like you Paul.

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