The High Sheriff of the West Midlands, Paul Bassi, held a Summer Party at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens at which he presented High Sheriff’s awards to charity fundraisers, community workers and others who have made outstanding contributions to the life of the region.
Mr Bassi said: “One of the great opportunities of my year as High Sheriff is the chance to acknowledge the invaluable work done by so many in our community for the benefit of others. All my award winners are making a huge difference to the quality of life in the West Midlands.”
Awards were presented to Jo Ball and Chris Bohemia, Arnie and Kathy Kaplan, Rory Daly, Kay White, Dave Heeley, Arron Bird, Tony Deep Wouhra, Stuart Griffiths, Upkar Pardesi and Blair Kesseler,
Jo Ball and Chris Bohemia were recognised for their charitable work among Birmingham’s professional community, while Andy and Kathy Kaplan are chairman and administrator of the Gentlemen’s Night Out charity.
Rory Daly, managing director of Bigwood Chartered Surveyors, received his award for 25 years of charity auction work.
Kay White has undertaken endurance charity events across the world, including trekking up Kilimanjaro, across the Sahara and to the North and South Poles.
“Blind Dave” Heeley is a renowned fundraiser who has completed the feat of running seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. Mr Bassi describes him as West Bromwich’s greatest export.
Artist Arron Bird, known as Temper, is rewarded for his contribution to art and for achievement. He began painting graffiti on walls of railway stations, but has since staged ten sell-out collections and has undertaken private commissions for the likes of Roman Abramovich for Chelsea Football Club, the BBC and Coca Cola.
Tony Deep Wouhra is acknowledged for his contribution to business and for his charity work. He began his career by selling eggs and is now head of the multi-million pound East End Foods business. He lost his mother and brother to the effects of diabetes, which led him to found the Healthy Hearts charity, which has screened more than 3,000 people for blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes in the last two years.
Stuart Griffiths is rewarded for his contribution to local economy via the Birmingham Hippodrome, where he is chief executive.
The Hippodrome attracts more than 500,000 paying visitors a year and contributes more than £40 million to the local economy.
Upkar Pardesi, director of corporate social responsibility at Birmingham City University, has made an outstanding contribution to helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds through the university system.
Blair Kesseler is chief executive of St Basil’s, which works to curb youth homelessness.