Another royal honour for Asha Khemka, named Staffordshire deputy lieutenant
As deputy lieutenant, Khemka will help the lord-lieutenant — the Queen’s representative in the county — with ceremonial duties, including representing him at civic and voluntary events.world Updated: May 12, 2017 20:14 IST
Asha Khemka, from Sitamarhi in Bihar, arrived in the United Kingdom with her family in 1978 without English language skills. She went on to win several accolades for transforming the lives of many as an educationist, and has now been made the deputy lieutenant of the county of Staffordshire.
Ian James Dudson, lord-lieutenant of Staffordshire, appointed her the deputy lieutenant at a commissioning ceremony in Staffordshire council’s County Buildings in Stafford, her office informed Hindustan Times on Friday.
The lord-lieutenant is Queen Elizabeth’s representative in the county. The role of deputy lieutenant is to help the lord-lieutenant with ceremonial duties, including representing him at civic and voluntary events and activities within the lieutenancy.
Khemka said: “As a long-standing resident, I am proud and humbled to be asked to represent the Staffordshire Lieutenancy and serve the place where I have lived for almost 20 years. It is a huge honour to be appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of the county that I love so much.”
Born and raised in Sitamarhi, Khemka married at the age of 15 and emigrated to the UK with her orthopaedic surgeon-husband Shankar and their three children. After 20 years as a housewife, she returned to education as a mature student.
Khemka began her career as a college business studies lecturer in 1987 and rose to establish herself as a leading educationist in the area of further education. She has been honoured the several awards over the years.
She was honoured with a damehood in 2014 – the female equivalent of knighthood – after being awarded an OBE in 2009 for her services to education. She is also a recipient of the Dadabhai Naoroji Award in 2015, presented by former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
Khemka is the principal and chief executive of West Nottinghamshire College, Mansfield, 230 km north of London. Under her leadership, the college is considered one of the largest and most successful institutes in the UK. She is also involved in education projects in India.
Khemka was the second woman of Indian origin in 2014 to be made a dame, the top British honour for women since the order was instituted in 1917; the first was Maharani Lakshmi Devi of Dhar in 1931.