• Friday, June 21, 2024


Showcasing the best of a diverse Britain at the GG2 Diversity and Leadership awards

Prime minister Rishi Sunak at the GG2 Leadership and Diversity Awards 2024

By: Kamal Pankhania

IT was a great privilege for Westcombe Group to have the opportunity to support and attend GG2’s Diversity and Leadership Awards on 5th March. It was so inspiring to hear from so many inspiring speakers and see so many leaders win recognition of their success.

Amazing Awards

The evening celebrated some of Britain’s finest business and social leaders, from all sections and communities of British society. For instance, Lord Jitesh Gadhia, Chairman of the British Asian Trust, was recognised for serving the British public and communities across the country for over three decades. He won the GG2 Hammer Award, given to a recipient who has smashed through glass ceilings. Lord Gadhia fled Uganda as a refugee at the age of two and has gone one advise cabinet members, Prime Ministers, and to lead King Charles’ charitable efforts in South Asia. He is an inspiration and a worthy winner.

Another very moving moment occurred when the sub postmasters of the UK were awarded the GG2 Spirit in the Community Award. The room witnessed a standing ovation when the sub postmasters, represented by Seema Misra, Vijay Parekh, Vipin Patel and Hasmukh Shingadia, were granted this recognition in honour of their determination and courage.

Kamal Pankhania at GG2 Awards 2024
Kamal Pankhania at GG2 Leadership & Diversity Awards 2024

Fittingly just in time for International Women’s Day, I also had the great pleasure and privilege of presenting the GG2 Woman of the Year Award, sponsored by Westcombe Group, which honours the incredible success of British woman in lifting themselves, their communities and society at large. It was a real honour to award Professor Kamila Hawthorne MBE, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners. Hawthorne has led innovative research projects focussing on health inequalities, in particular related to heart disease and diabetes, and has been a mentor to young GPs for over 35 years.

Finally, we were delighted to be awarded with the GG2 Business in the Community Award, which was given jointly to myself, my brother Sunil and my father Vraj, in recognition of the growth of the Westcombe Group and our philanthropic efforts through the Westcombe Foundation.

Celebrating Britain’s diversity

The evening’s guest of honour, our Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, gave an impassioned and moving speech in which he celebrated the success of Britain’s Asian community and its business and social contribution to the country more widely. He recognised the importance of diversity in enriching the UK and praised the leaders and champions who have contributed so much to this country’s success.

with Rishi Sunak at GG2 Awards 2024
Kamal Pankhania with Rishi Sunak at GG2 Awards 2024

As well as celebrating business and community success, we were all proud to applaud the evening’s fantastic charity partner of the evening, the Divine Shakti Foundation. There was a raffle, collection and fundraising drive to support the organisation’s work providing for the holistic well-being of women and their children, for orphaned and abandoned children, and for all of nature and the Earth.

We also celebrated the most inspirational of the UK’s key workers, with awards recognising the subpostmasters, NHS and police force, Thames Valley Police and North West London University Healthcare Trust deservedly winning recognition.

Many thanks to Kalpesh and Shailesh Solanki and the whole Asian Media Group for hosting us once again. It was a wonderful evening that showcases the very best that diverse Britain has to offer.

(The author is the CEO of Westcombe Group)

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