King’s Birthday Honours 2024: East Londoners recognised

King’s Birthday Honours 2024: East Londoners recognised

Those who have made it onto the list include an 83-year-old Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) pioneer and an NHS doctor.

The honours are dedicated to people who have contributed to a substantial change and led solutions that have had a hugely positive impact on the lives of those around them and across the country. 

Shirley Biro, 78, has been recognised with a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her services to the community in Newham over the past 30 years.  

Just some of Shirley’s praised work includes her role as publicly elected governor for the East London Foundation Trust (ELFT) for the borough. 

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According to her citation, Shirley’s work has helped to raise the profile of ELFT and to win the Council of Governors’ support of the trust’s shift from a service provider to a population health-based approach. 

She told this paper: “I’m still trying to sink it all in actually, it was quite a shock. 

Shirley Biro, 78, has been given a BEM for services to the community in NewhamShirley Biro, 78, has been given a BEM for services to the community in Newham (Image: Andrew Biro)

“I’ve never liked being in the spotlight. The fact I’m Newham born and bred and there is (such a) lack of confidence around here and people with low expectations.

“I like to think, look, I’ve done this so you can as well. Just be brave and take that first step.”

Shirley explained how her passion for volunteering started when she was in secondary school, helping to organise a fundraising dance for Oxfam. 

She said: “I think it was then I got the passion for it and I really got a kick out of it. I just get a kick out of it. I’ve been doing it wherever I can all my life.”

Shirley has also been Lay Chair for the Deanery of Newham for more than 20 years, with her citation saying she has volunteered for a number of responsibilities.

She is also the pastoral assistant in the East Ham Team Clergy Ministry, organising support groups for the bereaved and lonely people.

Shirley also makes pastoral home visits for those who cannot attend.

Her citation said: “She is also recognised for her dedication to mediation and reconciliation between individuals, families and community groups.

“Without her efforts Newham would not have such an informed network of voluntary, community, health and faith groups.”

Cynthia Dawkins-Lloyd, from Dagenham, has also received a BEM.

The honour has been awarded for the 83-year-old’s services to the Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in east London.

With more than 30 years of work within the community, Cynthia has worked as a nurse, a St John’s Ambulance volunteer, and a volunteer at a Havering foodbank. 

She was the first black member of staff at De Beers jewellers, her citation said, overcoming prejudice and helping increase the percentage of BAME workers in her team to more than 20 per cent at the time of her retirement.

Cynthia became one of the first BAME women in the UK to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in 2020, encouraging others within the BAME community to do the same. 

On her honour, she said: “I had no inclination, (I was) absolutely shocked. I’m very proud but I’m not a proud person.

“Whatever I did was natural, it all comes naturally to me to do that. 

“It’s absolutely lovely to know you can assist and help someone. I know it from childhood, I was brought up like that. 

“What I was taught helped me through my life. My nan used to talk to me with little problems and as I’ve grown up, one by one I’ve been able to solve them and understand what she meant. 

“The rewarding thing for me is that what I’ve done in my latter years that someone else, someone younger than me, said they would like to do that, they would like to be like me. 

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” I don’t think I’m special. I only do things from my inner self, my heart. I will never stop until my last day.”

Forty-five-year-old Amar Shah, London chief quality officer at ELFT, received an MBE for his services to mental health and quality improvement. 

His recognised work includes two improvement projects he helped initiate that won awards in 2021 for reducing racism against staff and improving the sexual safety of staff and service users. 

Dr Shah has also been commended for his role in developing an improvement coaching programme with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). 

The programme has been accredited by the IHI after being born out of ELFT, from where it has now gone on to be taught across the world and adopted by healthcare organisations globally.

Dr Amar Shah works at East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) where he is a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and was England’s first NHS Trust Board Chief Quality Officer. Dr Amar Shah works at East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) where he is a consultant forensic psychiatrist (Image: ELFT)

He said: “I am delighted to be recognised in this way. It has been a joy and privilege to support staff, service users and families to be able to apply quality improvement in order to make a difference to people’s health and care.

“This honour is wholly down to the creativity and commitment of our wonderful staff and patients, working together to improve care – at ELFT, as well as in my work at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and NHS England.”

Waltham Forest Council’s deputy leader Clyde Loakes was also given an MBE. 

The deputy leader and cabinet member for climate and air quality has been recognised for his services to local government. 

Waltham Forest Council said it was unable to provide a comment during the pre-election period.

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