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Baroness Flather, Sir Noon win Asian Jewel

Parminder Vir OBE was also among other Asian 'jewels of the community' who won the prestigious Southern Region Asian Jewel Awards.

india Updated: Dec 29, 2003 12:17 IST

Baroness Shreela Flather, Sir Gulam K Noon and Parminder Vir, OBE, were among the Asians adjudged the jewels of the community at the prestigious Southern Region Asian Jewel Awards at an impressive ceremony in Grosvenor House. The Award is given in recognition and celebration of the endeavour and achievements of individuals from the UK Asian community from various walks of life.

More than 1,000 guests attended the dinner reception sponsored by Trade Partners UK. The gathering represented a veritable Who's Who of Asian movers and shakers from the south of the country. Asian fashion designers were also showcased on the catwalk, sponsored by Madhu's.

Anila Roohi won the Young Achiever Award, sponsored by the Royal Navy. Anila, head of recruitment and development for the London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority, was brought up on one of the most deprived housing estates in Leeds but after graduating in Law from King's College, London, went on to specialise in human rights, working for Amnesty International and projects combating child slavery.

Appointed to her current position at the age of 31, Anila controls a budget of £2 million and heads a staff of 33. She also leads a very successful positive action programme recruiting women and ethnic minorities into the service.

James Caan of Hamilton Bradshaw, one of the UK's serial entrepreneurs, received the Entrepreneur Award, sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers. James's impressive track record includes creating a global HR consultancy with over 147 offices in over 30 countries and developing an international outsourcing company with revenues of over £120 million. Currently taking a 12-month sabbatical from his business activities to study in the Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, he is also a devoted family man with two children.

Baroness Flather was named Woman of the Year, sponsored by Sainsbury's. She became in 1990, the first ethnic minority woman to enter the House of Lords. Baroness Flather has also served on numerous public bodies including the Commission for Racial Equality, the Police Complaints Board and the European Commission on Racism and Xenophobia. She was also highly involved in the construction of the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill, a long-overdue recognition of the contributions of the nearly five million volunteers from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Caribbean in the two world wars. She always wears a sari when attending the House of Lords.

Shailesh Vara, vie-chairman of the Conservative Party, won the Social and Community Award sponsored by Abbey National plc. Shailesh, who delivered the 'rising star' speech at the Party's conference in 2000, has been described as a future leader of the Conservative Party.

Irfan Qadir, director of New Business at the Bank of Scotland, received the Finance Excellence Award, sponsored by Lloyds TSB, while Rabinder Singh QC of Matrix Chambers won the Legal Excellence Award, sponsored by OyezStraker. He was recently appointed the first Asian deputy High Court judge, at the age of only 39.

Parminder Vir OBE received the Media and the Arts Award, sponsored by Southall Regeneration Partnership. She is now responsible for diversity both on and behind the screen at Carlton Television and was also the driving force behind the Cultural Diversity Network (CDN). Parminder's current projects include the feature film 'The Prince of Dalston', a third series of 'Single Voices' and Carlton's Multicultural Achievement Awards.

The Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by HSBC, went to Sir Gulam Noon OBE and Judge Mota Singh QC. Sir Noon, chairman and MD of Southall-based ready-meals company Noon Products Ltd., has spent a lifetime in the food business. Receiving his MBE in 1996 and a knighthood in 2002, he was elected president of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2002. He is also a trustee of numerous charities and chairman of the Noon Foundation that supports a wide range of causes both at home and abroad.

Judge Mota Singh QC, retired Crown Court judge, specialised in civil law after coming to England following Kenya's independence. Appointed QC in 1978, his later appointment as a Circuit Judge in 1982 received worldwide coverage. For the last seven years of his career he was Second Senior Judge at Southwark Crown Court.

First Published: Dec 27, 2003 21:39 IST