Simon Woolley awarded GG2’s Pride of Britain Award


Last month, Simon and I were invited to the prestigious GG2 Leadership Awards at the Park Plaza Hotel, Westminster. At the time, I thought we were simply going along as guests, but I was filled with shock and pride when I looked at the award nominees to see Simon’s name there. Working in race equality is often a thankless task, therefore this recognition not only of OBV’s work, but of the importance of race equality, we felt like winners already.

The GG2 Leadership Awards, now in their 15th year, aim to highlight and showcase ethnic talent and leadership within the UK. The gala ceremony was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who spoke about the outstanding role that the community has played and continues to play in the infrastructure and economy of Great Britain.

As the ceremony proceeded, I was delighted when Simon was awarded the GG2 Pride of Britain Award. The Pride of Britain Award recognises an individual for their outstanding contribution to society and Simon is certainly a very deserving winner.

Simon who is one of the founders and Director of Operation Black Vote has worked tirelessly on behalf of the community to promote and secure racial justice and equality in the UK. The work over the last 17 years has been considerable and includes lobbying the political parties and the Prime Minister for greater BME political representation, developing mentoring programmes to nurture BME talent and galvanising the Black vote to ensure that our communities have a voice.

Making the presentation, award winning businessman Dr Rami Ranger MBE stated:

In no small measure, when we do have a Black Prime Minister it will be because of the efforts of this man and his organisation."

Speaking about the win, Simon said:

It is the greatest honour to be judged by your peers, particularly when your role is one that is often perceived as rather unflattering and unglamorous. But it is essential for our communities to have racial and social justice. Beyond the fantastic celebrations tonight, it is also our time to be strong and successful and to change Britain and British politics for the better."

The annual gala event attracted a diverse and powerful audience of high achievers who showed their support for ethnic achievement in the UK. Joining Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, other luminaries such as Keith Vaz MP, Sadiq Khan MP, Alok Sharma MP and Paul Uppal MP. From the entertainment sector, Preeya Kalidas, Goldy Notay, Ray Panthaki, Laila Rouass and presenters Gillian Joseph and snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Teenage activist Malala Yousafzai also won an award for her work in raising awareness for female empowerment. The teenager, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this year, was recognised for her courage and bravery in the face of adversity.

Kalpesh Solanki, Group Managing Editor of the AMG Power List, who hosted GG2 Awards said:

It’s fantastic to see so much ethnic success in Britain. There are a lot of strong, influential and powerful people whose hard work goes unrecognised. These awards ceremonies are highly significant as it’s incredibly important for us to keep recognising and rewarding ethnic achievements in the country."

As well as the Leadership Awards themselves, AMG also unveiled its annual Power List, which features the top 101 most influential Asians in the UK, ranging from all walks of life. Now in its third year, the list honours some notable British Asians who hold power and influence not just in Britain, but also globally.

The night was a celebration of BME contributions and a showcase of that success. Congratulations Simon on your win – a deserved winner and a deserved cause.

Francine Fernandes