John Athwal receives Asian of the Year 2010 Award

Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair presented the award to John Athwal at a gala function organised by the Asian Who's Who International at Dochester Hotel here yesterday .

Receiving the award, 57-year-old Athwal, Managing Director of Premier Decorations Ltd said, "I am very proud to be standing here representing the 2nd generation that have taken their forefathers dreams and built on them for the future.

Today's descendants have a much better chance to build even further, with educational opportunities and stable backgrounds that we could only have dreamt of."
He dedicated the award to his mother and father, "who brought us into this country to give us a better start in life."

He said "it's not been an easy journey, there always seemed to be more intelligent people than I, more successful than I, and more articulate than I, but being recognised by your peers is one of the biggest accolades that can be given."

He was eight when his parents migrated from Punjab to the UK in 1961.

Premier, set up by John, during the 90s, expanded from a small Christmas Decorations importer with three staff, to the largest distributor of Christmas products in the UK.
Today, Premier has over 70 permanent staff which expands to 120 during peak season. He also raises funds for charity.

Other recipients of the awards were Dalip Puri, Head of Multicultural Banking UK, HSBC Bank Plc (Asian Leadership in Diversity), Simi Choudhry (Asian Leadership in Charity), Tony Patti (Asian Leadership in Music and Culture) Arun Panchariya (Asian Leadership in Banking), Atul Pathak (Asian leadership in Franchise) and Sheetal Kapoor (Asian Leadership in Europe).

Previous recipients of the Asian of the year Award included Lord Swraj Paul, Surinder Mongia, R Baxi, Lord Khalid Hameed, Dr Kartar Lalvani, Lord Karan Bilimoria, Lord Navnit Dholakia, Lord Raj Loomba, Baroness Shreela Flather, Lord G K Noon, Imran Khan, Prof Bhikhu Parekh and Keith Vaz, MP.

Prominent among those present were Lord Paul, Lord Dholakia, Lord Loomba, S P and G P Hindujas.
Blair also formally launched the Asian Who's Who Foundation, set up by Jasbir Sachir, Editor in chief of the Asian Who's Who International.

Sachar also presented the first copy of the 23rd Edition 2010 of the Asian who's who international to Blair, whom he described as the "new NRI".

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