“I began my journey in media 16 years ago. It is wonderful to be here today."
The 18th edition of the Asian Achievers Awards (AAA) took place on Friday 14 September at the extravagant Grosvenor House in Mayfair, London.
The Asian Business Publications Ltd (ABPL) were organisers of this glamorous event, acknowledging and celebrating the accomplishments of exceptional talent in UK’s Asian community.
The ABPL group are publishers of the Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar.
The awards given out on the night reflect various businesses and professions, identifying individuals who have done well under each category.
Many people attended the glitzy event from many different industries within the UK and abroad. The winning categories were ranging from civil services to media, sports and business.
This high profile event had many entertainment industry guests, such as Bhangra singer Juggy D.
The hosts for the evening were Eastenders actor Nitin Ganatra and Kiss FM radio and TV presenter DJ Neev. Nitin and Neev were successful in welcoming the audience, along with providing jokes and entertainment.
For entertainment, people git spoilt by the London School of Bollywood. They did a dance routine to various popular Bollywood songs.
The event began with a speech from CB Patel, chairman, publisher and editor of the Awards. Mr Patel acknowledges the 2018 event was special. This prestigious event in its 18th year continues to grow bigger and better.
The ‘Achievement in Community Services Award’ went to Poppy Jaman OBE. Poppy is a key campaigner in the mental health community.
As CEO of the Central Mental Health Alliance (CMHA), she is working closely with senior leaders of London businesses. This is for sharing good practice in reducing the stigma and to improve the literacy of mental health.
In 2018 Poppy was awarded an OBE in recognition of services to people with mental health issues.
Backstage Poppy mentioned: “I am proud for the recognition, particularly in the South Asian community, I hope this pushes us to talk about mental health more openly.”
The next award went to Babita Sharma for ‘Achievements in Media, Arts & Culture.’ Babita is a documentarian, TV presenter, author and news anchor for the BBC.
Babita is the co-presenter of Dangerous Borders: The story of India and Pakistan on BBC Two. She is also known for presenting Newsday on BBC World News, covering major global news events.
In reply to a question of how she feels about winning the award, Babita says: “What an honour it is to win this award, I am honestly completely blown away!”
Babita went on to explain: “I began my journey in media 16 years ago. It is wonderful to be here today. We all know getting into the media spotlight for Asians in the UK takes a lot of work and support from the people around you.”
The ‘Women of the Year Award’ was given to Trishna Bharadia. Since a life-changing diagnosis in 2008, Trishna has been suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Today she lives with several long-term health conditions.
Trishna has successfully brought MS, a chronic illness and an invisible disability into the spotlight. Helping raise awareness and improve education and services to patients is a key agenda for Trishna.
2018 is the year for celebrating women. Trishna mentions: “This is a really great way to celebrate what women can achieve, we have a voice and we can be powerful with that voice.”
Trishna explaining the stigma behind disabilities adds: “Unfortunately in the Asian community there is still a lot of prejudice and stigma attached to disabilities and chronic illnesses. We need to break down these barriers down.”
Continuing with the year of the women, the panel of judges in 2018 was made up of extraordinary females. Dame Asha Khemka DBE DL is principal and CEO of West Nottinghamshire College. She is also the second women of Indian origin to be awarded the knighthood since the order was instituted in 1917.
The second member on the panel, Lucy Mitchell is the managing director of SeeWoo Group. SeeWoo is an oriental food specialist with over 40 years experience in the import, distribution, retail and manufacturing of oriental foods.
The final member on the panel of judges is Vanessa Vallely OBE. Vanessa is one of UK’s key figures in gender equality. She provides guidance and consultancy to government and corporate organisations seeking to attract, develop, and retain female talent.
The all-female panel had a difficult job deciding the winners for each category. All the finalists in every category have individually contributed within the Asian Community. This includes the work they have done to support charities in the UK and all over the world.
During the break, further speeches came from Tony Matharu and Professor Vinidh Paleri. An auction also took place led by Lord Jeffery Archer, with all proceedings going to sponsor charity Oracle Cancer Trust.
At this point, people got to tickle those taste buds, with Ragamama Ragsaan serving a 3-course meal. With everyone well fed, the final 5 awards were to be handed out.
With the night nearly coming to an end, CB Patel gave us a closing speech saying.
“The AAA recognises the outstanding work from individuals from across all businesses and professions within the Asian Community.”
It was quite obvious that he was very proud of all the achievements, sharing the stage with some of his oldest and dearest friends within the Asian community.
Here is the full list of winners for the 18th Asian Achievers Awards 2018:
Sports Personality of the Year
Achievement in Community Service
Poppy Jaman OBE
Achievement in Media, Arts & Culture
Uniformed & Civil Services
AC Neil Basu
Professional of the Year
Dr Anil Kumar Ohri
Women of the Year
Entrepreneur of the Year
Business Person of the Year
Lifetime Achievement Awards
Dr Hasmukh Shah BEM
AAA: Pre-eminent Personality of the Year
AAA: Business of the Year
Editor’s Award: Philanthropy & Community Leadership Award
Overall the 2018 Asian Achievers Awards was a spectacular event. Not only was the location completely attractive, but the hall itself was also like something out of a fairy tale.
The exquisite flower arrangements and diamond-like chandeliers were visually stunning. It is clear that ample time and passion went into organising the event.
It was rather pleasing to witness the Asian community come together to celebrate and support each other’s achievements.
It is easy to say that the Asian Achieves Awards will continually grow bigger and get even better. DESIblitz congratulates all the winners for gaining recognition during this extraordinary event.