OBV's Simon wins lifetime achievement prize

A glittering awards ceremony to honour race equality pioneers was capped by a lifetime achievement award scooped by Simon Woolley, Operation Black Vote’s director.

The accolade was in recognition of his work paving the way for others to achieve success in the world of politics. Other big names to win top awards at the Diversity UK event include Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, known as ‘the black farmer’, who was celebrated for his championing of entrepreneurship in rural areas.

Simon Woolley said: “As a campaigner and activist you do things because it’s the right thing to do. “You work to change institutions and try to inspire of new generation leaders to take their rightful place. Then someone taps you on the shoulder to say ‘thank you for the work that you do.'

“So you can imagine how moved I am to be thanked today with this Lifetime Achievement award”.

The presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Awards took place at the annual Paul Stephenson Lecture, which is named in honour of the social worker who, in 1963, led the Bristol Bus Boycott.

Past recipients of the prize include Stephenson himself. Chairman of Diversity UK, Dilip Joshi MBE said “In times of uncertainty, we need exceptional people like Simon and Wilfred to show us how to make this country a better, fairer, happier and more equal place.

So I am honoured to have two really inspirational equality pioneers working in Britain at a time when we need leaders who have the courage and bravery to pave the way for others .”

In his acceptance speech, Wilfred said: “Most people of colour in the UK are descendants of brave and courageous people. You have to have the entrepreneurial spirit to leave behind everything you know in order to improve your life and the lives of your children.

“My role is to stay true to that entrepreneurial spirit”. He acknowledged the Lifetime Achievement award was great motivation for continuing to fight for greater diversity and inclusion in business.”