The hotelier worked hard to expand the annual open-air Shakespeare festival over 40 years, which now attracts over 500,000 people
By: Pramod Thomas
Charity supporter and hotelier Vinu Bhattessa has received the OBE from King Charles III at Windsor Castle last month.
He was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2022.
A longstanding trustee of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in the UK, Bhattessa OBE has been serving BAPS for almost 40 years and was a key figure during the construction of Neasden Temple, one of the first traditionally built Hindu temples outside India, a statement said.
He was also an integral part of building 12 religious centres across Europe, and assisting with the Hindu temples in North America and New Delhi’s Akshardham Temple.
Fostering UK culture has been important to him which was evident within his country hotel, Pendley Manor, famed for its cultural heritage.
He worked hard to expand the annual open-air Shakespeare festival over 40 years, which now attracts over 500,000 people.
It provides a platform for successful actors, including Dame Judi Dench, Caroline Quentin and Lynda Bellingham.
Bellingham spoke to the BBC about the impact and influence Pendley had on her career, as well as a recent book published and dedicated to his work, A Perspective on Pendley.
Bhattessa has worked closely with various charities, including The Springboard Charity that helps youth find employment. He is also a Founders Circle member of the British Asian Trust.
During Covid, he supported India by arranging ventilators, as well as supplying concierge services through his hotels to the local community and supplies to key London hospitals.
Born in Kenya, Bhattessa moved to the UK to study Chemistry at University College London. He initially started working with his family business in Nairobi, often travelling through Europe to buy machines for steel manufacturing factories.
He permanently moved to the UK in 1981 and bought his first hotel the same year.
The hotelier collaborates and supports humanitarian work through hosting events for Age UK, The Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK and Cancer Research.