Gravesend statistician made MBE for services to Sikh community
PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:54 09 June 2018
Gravesend resident Jagdev Singh Virdee, 62, has been made an MBE in recognition of his services to statistics and the Sikh community.
His unshakeable commitment to improving society through statistical data led to him becoming the editor of the British Sikh Report, a comprehensive annual document based on the views and opinions of Sikhs in the UK.
Since 2015 he has voluntarily led a team of 10 to produce the ground-breaking report each year.
From 2000 to 2013 he was the Assistant General Secretary of the largest Gurdwara in Europe, the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara (Gravesend) and became involved with the Gurdwara again in December 2017 to increase community engagement.
He has also been involved with the Royal Statistical Society since 2012, serving on a working group for diversity and inclusion issues since its formation in 2015 and resolving international development issues.
He is chairman of the Gravesend-based Jugnu Bhangra Group.
Established in 1970, it is the oldest bhangra dance troupe in Europe and has toured throughout Europe, North America and India.
In 2005 he was made chairman of the group in recognition of the role he has played in the dance troupe, achieving international success.
The group has also been instrumental in breaking down racial and cultural barriers through running workshops in schools and festivals around the UK and overseas.
Mr Virdee said: “The volunteering (or sewa, as we call it from a Sikh point of view) that so many people undertake is hugely rewarding in its own right, especially if we can combine our passions with our work-related skills for the benefit of wider society.
“I spent my working career as a statistician in central government and am lucky that I have been able to use the same knowledge and skills in voluntary activities.
“I hope that this honour will help to raise the profile of real life issues such as mental health, which we have been highlighting through this year’s British Sikh Report.
“This work reflected the need to have high quality statistics to inform discussion of a key issue. I hope that people overcome existing stigma and start talking about such topics.”