A former doctor who has volunteered countless hours to helping the community has been hailed an “unsung hero.”
Dr Shobha Srivastava has been presented with the Roger Spoor Award by the High Sheriff at a prestigious ceremony.
The 83-year-old had no idea she had been nominated for the accolade when she was invited to attend the event held at the Centre of Life on March 28.
Dr Srivastava was the founder member of charity Hindu Nari Sangh, 25 years ago, and still plays an active part in her role as group president. She was nominated by the group’s secretary Elaine Crompton
Dr Srivastava said: “Elaine, called me to say she had some spare tickets for the night and would I like to go.
“I had no idea I had been nominated for an award.
It is a very prestigious award and it was a very proud moment for me. I am proud for South Tyneside, as this award is not just for me, but it’s for my community of South Tyneside.
“It was a complete surprise but a lovely year in which to be presented with it, as Hindu Nari Sangh is celebrating 25 years.
“It is a very prestigious award and it was a very proud moment for me. I am proud for South Tyneside, as this award is not just for me, but it’s for my community of South Tyneside.”
In the nomination form Elaine praised Dr Srivastava for her voluntary work including her work with Hindu Nari Sangh.
The charity aims to increase its cultural awareness amongst generations and supports women of all ages and nationalities to increase their health and wellbeing, through dance, exercise and performances.
Initially it started as a cultural group to celebrate Hindu festivals and to educate the children of Indians born in the region about Indian culture and festivals.
The group now offers Bollywood Dance Classes to adults and children.
In her nomination Elaine wrote: “Shobha’s resourcefulness, initiative, persistent efforts and sincere devotion, ensure people from all faiths, backgrounds, ages and cultures come together and perform in celebration of cultural diversity; a much needed gift especially in these times of unrest. She meets problems with untiring energy and unfailing wisdom. Particularly noteworthy are her efforts in fighting for diverse causes; safeguarding, obesity, health and mental wellbeing.
“Shobha is the kind of person who goes out of her way to help every day. She uses her role in the organisation and her standing in the community to promote diversity and encourage integration by proactively engaging the community in cultural events focused on intercultural understanding. She is visionary in her leadership and fresh thinking in her ideas; ie she uses social media for sharing information and experiences and to develop greater awareness of current issues. She is easily the most knowledgeable, helpful person I know and she never ceases to impress me.
“A local hero deeply committed to supporting other people and devoted to selfless voluntary service.”