Former Lord Lieutenant given lifetime achievement award

Paul Sabapathy, second from left, won the lifetime achievement award at the 2018 Signature Awards

Former Lord Lieutenant Paul Sabapathy was the winner of the lifetime achievement award at the fourth annual Signature Awards.

The 550-strong audience saw 12 other awards handed out and heard from West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and guest speaker, Derby-based entrepreneur Kavita Oberoi.

Indian-born Sabapathy came to the UK in 1964 and the management accountant rose to become chief executive of North Birmingham Community NHS Trust and a Pro Chancellor of Birmingham City University.

He has been recognised by the Queen on three separate occasions for services to regeneration and business, receiving the OBE in 1995, the CBE in 2004 and became a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in 2017.

Sabapathy, who dedicated the award to his wife of 48 years who died in November, said: “Without her I could not have done all of the things that I have.”

He added: “I want to say my gratitude and thankfulness for this great honour. It is always wonderful to be recognised.”

Ninder Johal speaking at the 2018 Signature Awards

Awards organiser Ninder Johal, chief executive of Nachural Group, spoke about the importance of skills and education in a post-Brexit era and the need to innovate in an increasingly-competitive global marketplace.

Earlier Mayor Andy Street had told the business audience that the region will “get the nod” to be the new home of Channel 4.

Keynote speaker Kavita Oberoi, who is recognisable from The Secret Millionaire and the BBC’s The Apprentice: You’re Fired programmes, spoke about the importance of persistence and perserverance, inspiring the audience with her own achievements over adversity and low expectation.

2018 Signature Award winners

2018 Signature Awards at the ICC, Birmingham

Lifetime Acheivement: Paul Sabapathy
Finance for Organisations: Baldwins
Finance for an Individual: Ruzwan Boota
Business: Talash Hotels
Law as an individual: Eileen Schofield
Law for an Organisation: Trowers and Hamlins
Creative and Media: Raj Chadha
Banking: Rin Ryan of Barclays
Land, Architecture and Property Development: Simon Marks
Promoting Apprenticeships: In Comm Training
Business Professions for Owner Practice: Kamran Sheikh
Diversity: Irwin Mitchell
Young Professional of the Year: Gurpreet Bassi