Plaque unveiled at Apna Ghar centre in South Shields to honour life and work of founding member
A commemorative plaque has been unveiled to honour the memory of one of the founding members of a South Tyneside multicultural centre.
Attendees at the Apna Ghar Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Women’s Centre event celebrated the life and legacy of the late Vimla Storey on Wednesday, October 27, with the unveiling of the plaque.
Vimla was a founding member of the BAME women’s charity, based on Ocean Road in South Shields.
She sadly passed away in September 2020.
The chairwoman of the Apna Ghar organisation, Shobha Srivastava, spoke of the importance of marking and remembering the late Ms Storey’s work in the area.
"Wednesday 27th October was a very special day for us all,” she said.
“It was good to see so many people at the ceremony, especially Vimla’s niece, Shiela Hussain and Vimla’s son, Sameer Storey.
“The commemorative plaque will be a lasting reminder of Vimla’s work and all she did for the BAME community of South Tyneside.”
South Shields MP, Emma Lewell-Buck, was unable to attend the plaque unveiling, but sent those at the centre a message of support.
"I am sorry not to be with you in person to share this very special day,” she said.
"However, I shall be taking a moment here in Parliament today to stop and to reflect on the important contribution dear Vimla has made to our fantastic South Shields community over many decades.
"In these very troubled times, we can all take inspiration from Vimla, who was a true community leader and a pioneer in community cohesion, providing a warm and welcoming space in establishing Apna Ghar, as well as employment, education and cultural and social opportunities for all who have attended over the years.
“When we lose someone who has made such a difference, they are never truly gone.
"Vimla will always be here, her legacy of inclusion, friendship and valuing people lives on and I am delighted that you will now be able to see this beautiful plaque each day as a reminder of the light she lit here, in ‘our home’ Apna Ghar, and that continues to shine brightly.”
The leader of South Tyneside Council, Cllr Tracey Dixon, also praised Vimla’s community cohesion work in the borough.
She told The Gazette: “We are so honoured and proud to have known Vimla and to have benefited as a community from her passion and determination to empower others.
“A much-loved and highly respected community leader, Vimla’s work and dedication has had an incredible impact on the lives of so many people in South Tyneside.
"Vimla brought people together, nurtured connections and created opportunities. She took the lessons of her own challenging experiences as a newcomer to South Tyneside in the 1970s and used them to forge a community and safe haven which has ever since been a lifeline to so many other women who have experienced some of those same challenges.
"She contributed to making South Tyneside a welcoming and inclusive place for others.
“Vimla’s passing last year was a huge loss for her colleagues and loved ones, but it is clear that in building an empowering community for minority ethnic women at Apna Ghar, she has left behind a powerful legacy, one which will no doubt continue to nurture and support minority ethnic women for decades to come.”