Indian-origin marathon runner gets British Empire Medal

Indian-origin 103-year-old marathon runner Fauja Singh was today nominated for British Empire Medal in the Queen's New Year Honours List for his services to Sport and Charity while heart specialist Nilesh Samani has been named for knighthood.

Besides, NRI actress and writer Meera Syal who is famous for comedy roles on television in Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No 42, becomes CBE, Commander of British Empire. She is among nearly 30 NRIs figuring in the honours list.

Fauja Singh is widely believed to be the oldest marathon runner in the world.

Based in Essex, Singh is a keen charity supporter and champion of Age UK. He took up running aged 89 and carried the Olympic flame through east London in 2012.

Heart Specialist Samani wins the top award Knights Bachelor for his services to Medicine and Medical Research.

He is the Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester and Consultant Cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital.

Professor Samani, 58, said "This is a very great honour and comes as a complete surprise.

"It is an honour which recognises the work and support I have received from both the hospital and university over the years.

"Of course it recognises the support I have received from my wife Varsha and my family."

Samani, who has two sons, said: "My first focus is treating my patients and conducting research. This award is a wonderful bonus."

His main research interests are focused around understanding the inherited basis of heart diseases, especially coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.

He has been a principal investigator on several major national and international projects in cardiovascular genetics.

Syal, who is honoured for services to drama and literature, also scripted the film Bhaji On the Beach.

She used her experiences growing up in the West Midlands for her first book Anita And Me, which was later adapted for the screen.

Syal, who is married to her screen colleague Sanjeev Bhaskar, also scripted the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Bombay Dreams.

Other recipients of the Honour include Shakuntala Michael Ghosh, James Caan, Hearth Evelyn Joshi, Uma Mehta, Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, Roshan Maini, Sajda Mughal, Venugopal Karunakaran Nair, Dilip Nathwani, Surat Singh Sangha, Jatinder Kumar Sharma, Dasha Wendy Shenkman and Iram Siraj.

Besides, Shahnaz Akhtar, Hasan Bakhshi, Ahmed Bashir, Subhash Chander Chaudhary, Daksha Dabasia, Surinder Kaur Ghura, Shanthakumar Jacob, Gurmel Singh Kandola, Surinder Pal Singh Khurana, Atul Maru, Vanita Parti and Ushma Patel.

Paul Joseph Gordon Rennie, Head of political and Bilateral Affairs British High Commission, New Delhi, has been honoured with OBE for services to UK-India relations.

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