Community champion Dr Shobha Srivastava has become South Tyneside’s latest Member of the British Empire.
The 83-year-old has been awarded the MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list after she was nominated by her peers for her devotion to promoting community cohesion.
I wish my husband was here to see it all now, he would have been over the moon.Sr Shobha Srivastava
Dr Srivastava has received her award for her voluntary service work in the field of community cohesion in the North East.
A former anaesthetist with South Tyneside Health Care Trust, she has and still does sit on a number of boards and committees.
She has been described by those who know her as a “local hero” who is “deeply committed” to supporting other people.
Dr Srivastava said she was unaware she had been nominated until she received a phone call asking if she would accept an award.
The timing of the award, however, has left Dr Srivastava with mixed emotions after husband, Munnoo - who always believed she should be recognised in some way for her work - passed away last year.
She said: “I am absolutely thrilled. My husband used to say to me ‘you work so hard with little recognition.’
“I wish he was here to see it all now. He would have been over the moon.
“I thought receiving an unsung hero’s award from the High Sheriff was the highlight of my career, but this has topped it.”
She added: “I was told in May about the award but I had to keep it a secret. To get the phonecall then the letter, it really was wonderful.
“I have done a lot of community work over the years but I didn’t do it to be recognised,
“I did it because it was in my heart.
“To think people have taken the time to nominate me for something as special as this, you can’t put it into words. I’m just thrilled.”
Over the years Dr Srivastava has helped secure funding for groups for a range of different projects including a healthy living centre for residents, research into service provision for domestic abuse victims and raising awareness of forced marriage and honour based violence.
She is an advocate for the minority ethnic community and has volunteered her time to speak at a number of events to drive community cohesion forward.
One project close to her heart is ‘Hindu Nari Sangh’ which she founded. It devotes its time to increasing cultural awareness amongst women of all ages and nationalities to reach their potential through dance, exercise and performances.
Meanwhile, Dennis Taylor, a Higher Executive Officer Programme Management Officer, Data Science, Department for Work and Pensions, from Fellgate will be presented with a BEM for services to the Department for Work and Pensions Digital Group and Charitable Fundraising.