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In 2017 Reach Society won the Queens Award for Voluntary Service (the QAVS) and it was also the year in which the first draft of the manuscript of the Society’s new book - Our Heroes, By Us, For Us - was written. After this historic year work resumed on the book which led to its completion this year.
It features more than 100 men and women of action who have championed a wide range of activities which have made life better for members of the Black community in the UK, and in some instances, in overseas countries which were either under the control of or had strong relationships with the UK.
In this book the extraordinary people featured are from the 19th and 20th centuries. Some are well known names like Baroness Patricia Scotland the serving Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Diane Abbott, the first Black female Labour MP, Lewis Hamilton the highest achieving British Formula 1 driver of all time, and Lord Herman Ouseley, the former chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality. Others are less well known, but nonetheless brilliant in their areas of influence such as Emeritus Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, or Emeritus Professor Sir Geoff Palmer, the inventor of the Barley Abrasion Process which has given Britain a huge competitive advantage in the brewing industry for many decades.
The book also records the historic arrival of a person of African descent into the British Royal family, Meghan Merkle, the Duchess of Sussex, when she became the wife of Prince Harry in May of 2018. It also records the government’s decision to make 22 June Windrush Day for recognising the contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants in the 70th year of the UK’s modern Black community.
Anyone who wishes to gain a deeper appreciation of the actions taken by scores of the members of the Black community in Britain to transform the quality of our lives should read this book.
The authors are Dr Dwain Neil and Paula Neil.