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Top honour for Sikh volunteers

PUBLISHED: 14:46 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:08 23 August 2010

THE volunteer work of two active members of the Sikh community has been recognised in the Kent Black Minority Ethnic Achievement Awards. Nanak Singh, treasurer of the Guru Nanak Darbar committee and Surinder Dhinsa, who lead the dance group Jugnu Bhangra

THE volunteer work of two active members of the Sikh community has been recognised in the Kent Black Minority Ethnic Achievement Awards.

Nanak Singh, treasurer of the Guru Nanak Darbar committee and Surinder Dhinsa, who lead the dance group Jugnu Bhangra are two of six from across the county chosen for the work they have done in their community.

Mr Singh, 51, of Artemis Close, Gravesend, has been working for the committee for 28 years, on a voluntary basis, carrying out fundraising and managing the group's accounts.

He has been at the forefront of the 10-year project to provide a new £14 million temple on Khalsa Avenue.

Mr Singh said: "The Gravesend community has led me to receive this award. It is them who are giving me this award as I have worked for them."

As part of his involvement with the project, Mr Singh, who works full time for Magna Exteriors and Interiors in Sittingbourne, has also become involved with Guru Nanak Football Club, which is sponsored by the Darbar, and the Asian Welfare Society.

Robert Dowle, Mr Singh's manager at Magna, said: "Nanak is one of our long service employees and always works exceedingly hard to carry out his responsibilities to the best of his ability. Clearly his determination for success and to help others extends far beyond his working life."

Surinder Dhinsa has been involved with Jugnu Bhangra, first as a dancer and now as teacher and choreographer for 39 years.

The former IT consultant works up to seven nights a week unpaid, coaching around 100 members from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds.

In the past three years he has also broken with tradition to teach Bhangra to women.

He said: "There are two reasons behind it, keeping the kids of the streets, giving them a purpose in life and something to do in the evenings and also to teach our Indian Punjabi culture.

"Bhangra is traditionally a male dance but I decided to teach girls and they are picking it up quite well."

Mr Dhinsa, 55, works as a taxi driver in between his demanding dancing schedule, which includes travelling to Sevenoaks to teach a form of Bhangra aerobics class.

"I was very surprised and also very pleased I have been nominated, it is hard work and this is recognition of that so I am very pleased," he added.

The pair will collect their awards at County Hall on October 30.

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