A TATA Steel professor, a medical researcher and the founder of a leading online fundraising platform were honoured by the Queen in her annual Birthday’s Honours List.
Professor Harshad Kumar Dharamshi Bhadeshia, a Tata Steel professor of metallurgy, at the University of Cambridge, was given a knighthood for services to science and technology.
He featured alongside Professor Munir Hussein Pirmohamed, David Weatherall chair of Medicine at the University of Liverpool, who was also given the same honour last Friday (12).
Zarine Kharas, founder of fund-raising website JustGiving.com, was made a Dame for services to business and charity.
Bhadeshia, who emigrated to Britain in 1970 from Kenya, told Eastern Eye he found it “hard to believe” when he first heard the news of his honour.
“I’m delighted and greatly honoured to receive it. I think something like this actually is a recognition of not just the individual who gets it but also the hundreds of students I work with, and with many of my colleagues all over the world who I have done research with.”
The 62-year-old father-of-two initially started out as a lab technician for the British Oxygen Company. They sponsored his education after which he applied for a PhD in Cambridge in 1976 and has been there since.
“Tata Steel endowed my chair, which means they made a large donation to the university. So there will be a Tata Steel professorship forever, even after I retire.”
Bhadeshia said the future of steel manufacturing is becoming more dynamic.
“There are thousands of different kinds of crystals inside steel that we can manipulate and alter. The mission has been to try and calculate what could happen if we changed the composition and processing conditions to design steel to different demands.
“Cambridge is very special, it is completely international and it’s a real pleasure to work here.”
Pirmohamed, who was honoured for his services to medicine, came to Britain with his family from Uganda in 1972 after the expulsion of Asians by Idi Amin.
“It’s a great honour to be given a knighthood, but the most important thing here is what I and my team does, which is advancing medicine for the benefit of patients,” he told EE.
His main area of research is in pharmacogenetics and drug safety. He is also deputy director of the MRC Centre for Drug Safety Sciences in Liverpool.
“It’s been a huge privilege to work with so many people to make a real difference to people’s lives, to develop new medicines and improve the way we currently use them,” said Pirmohamed. “It [knighthood] not only highlights my work but recognises the whole team who work tirelessly to be able to advance medicine.”
There are 595 women on the Honours list, representing 51 per cent of the total. One of them, Kharas, co-founded JustGiving with Anne-Marie Huby in 2001. She said she started JustGiving to make charitable giving easier and more effective through the power of digital technology.
Kharas said: “In 2001, Anne-Marie and I set out to build a sustainable business that was mission led and had social values at its core. JustGiving has been investing and innovating on behalf of good causes ever since and we’re both enormously proud of its achievements in connecting people to the causes they care about.”
The 62-year-old grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. She came to the UK to study law at Cambridge and has been here ever since. Kharas worked for City solicitors Lawrence Graham and Linklaters & Paines, specialising in corporate and financial law, before joining investment bank Cre-dit Suisse First Boston (CSFB).
When Hans-Joerg Rudloff, CSFB’s boss, left to start his own investment banking operation, Kharas followed suit. She then went back to a City law firm, this time Simmons & Simmons, where she came up with the idea for JustGiving.
Since its launch, the online platform has transformed the way people give to good causes. It has raised over £2 billion for more than 20,000 good causes across the globe.
“None of it would have been possible without the trust of our charity partners, the 24 million people who have given through JustGiving over the years and the hard work of our 170-strong team,” said Kharas.
Nusrat Lilani, a food entrepre-neur and founder of the Women of the Future forum, said she was delighted on hearing she had received a CBE.
The mother-of-two who came to the UK in 1978 from Calcutta, India, told EE: “Coming from India, it’s huge honour to get something like this. I never really worked when I came here because I had my children. I didn’t start working until they were quite old. So it’s never too late to start. You can do so many things if you really believe in it and have passion.”
Lilani, who is also an associate fellow at Said Business School, University of Oxford started The Women of the Future Network in 2008. It brings together an exclusive network of high-achieving and high-potential businesswomen from Britain.
“I think something like this is very important because Women of the Future is really for emerging women leaders under 35. By recognising them and their talent, we help them and inspire them to do more which, in turn, makes them role models for the next generations.”
Among the people who received an OBE was Atul Pathak, the founder and managing director of Appt Corporation, one of the leading McDonald’s franchisees in London.
Around 70 per cent of the recipients are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity.
Rimla Akhtar received an MBE for services to equality and diversity in sport. A chartered accountant by profession, Akhtar has been making her mark in the sports field for over 14 years. As chair of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation (MWSF), she has helped the organisation gain an international reputation for its work in women’s sport.
“I was quite emotional and truly shocked when I received the letter. I feel very blessed to be able to work in a field that I love, for a cause that I feel very passionate about and hopefully one that will help create much needed equality of opportunity for all communities. To know that my efforts are appreciated and having real impact is wonderful,” she said.
The honours system rewards individuals who have made a difference in their community and those with ‘outstanding achievements’ in their workplace. Forty people in the Honours list were from an Asian background. In total, 1,163 people have received an award, with 6.9 per cent coming from ethnic minority communities, a slight increase on recent lists.
For more information about how to nominate someone, go to http://www.gov.uk/honours/nominate-someone-in-the-uk