The love and humour of community at the Black Achievers East Midlands Conference Centre Beeston Lane Saturday 22nd October…

What an opening: and, if you needed a who’s who of Nottingham power, celebrity and action it was here, at East Midlands Conference Centre, Saturday 21st October. The will to bring everyone together stimulated by the effervescent arboretum councillor Merlita Bryan 

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Merlita Bryan with Panya Banjoko, writer, poet, teacher, children’s writer, cultural archivist and literary activist winner of the lifetime cultural contribution award and Nottingham musician Abii Musique

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Davia Mckoy, Natasha Bryan and founder Cllr Merlita Bryan

The Nottingham Black Achievers is a genius riposte to the tabloid view of the reasons for the 2011 riots: a kind of ‘that was something that happened but not in my name‘ an event that is the good news on what local people in Nottingham have done and achieved.

Meadows councillor Michael Edwardes and creator of the event, councillor Merlita Bryan, comedian Curtis Walker, Channel 4 writer and former olympian Peter Bakare, and Sandhurst educated John Peace, Lord Lieutenant of Nottingham spoke to open the evening and young singer Aaron James gave us two 60’s classics

Lifetime equality campaigner Reverend Eve Pitts gave the blessing:


‘and you are indeed the conqueror of all that is not good, and you have seen our struggles but you have also seen the promise of a great people because you placed it  within us and we thank you for giving us such courage, such tenacity, the wonderful capacity to be inventors, to be orators, to be musicians, to be social workers and teachers to be all that we can be because you have ordained it thus.. we thank you for being here tonight…you’re the kind of god that shows up… you’re a god who likes to be with your children…bless the food, those who cooked it…(I hope it’s caribbean though…(laughter)I can only speak so much english…to god because he understands patois …if it’s not caribbean, give me grapes…’

Joanne Bloomfield Manager of Sickle Cell Service at Nottingham University hospitals 15,000 people 110 adults 60 children affected, in the UK blood transfusions help reduce pain and symptoms. If you can give blood that would be amazing. Only 1% of donors are black at the moment.

And the winners were:

Jamahl Peterkin won the  health award. Jamahl has sickle cell anemia and PSTD. runs Nottingham Peace Union a social enterprise and is studying law. sponsored by Tick Tock All Stars Deborah Oyause and Natasha Bryan presented the award

 Joan Richards, Outstanding parent sponsored by Hope Fostering Services Tony Palmer (last year’s winner, and Milton Crosdale OBE presented this award)

Bettina Wallace community volunteer CVS Chief Executive Louise Craig presented the award

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Above Bettina Wallace 

Alisha Edwards-Clarke and Ekow Essuman Sports achievement Naomi Douglas from  De Vere Ventures  sponsored and Community Protection, Amy Gouden Chief Community Protection Officer and sports specialist Pete Mitchell presented the award

Young T & Bugsey a special award from the Black Achievers Team for their Achievements in the music industry and Young T and Bugsey thanked Prince Harry’s mate, Nottingham’s Trevor Rose for his meteoric mentoring)

Above Young T and Bugsey, Trevor Rose of Community Recording Studios, Prince Harry and Lord Lieutenant of Nottingham, Sir John Peace

Milton Crosdale OBE (history of Nottingham equality hero) and Director of Patra introduced the winner of the female  young achiever:  Wurood Camp  a family friend nominated her. She’s doing her MA in chemical engineering at Sheffield university, has just completed an internship in Singapore (where the company let her a condominium (nice apartment!) and she’s going back next year…watch this space!

Ryan Neal was the male winner of the Young Achievers Award 2017 Sponsored by PATRA Mapperley ward councillor Leslie Ayoola presented the award Ryan couldn’t attend but his mum took the award on his behalf.

Above Councillor Leslie Ayoola and Ryan receiving an earlier award for completing 175 hours of volunteering from Steve Hill, Director of Football Notts County Community.

Simona Rose winner of the Most Transformed Life award sponsored by the Police and crime commissioner Paddy Tipping

Ade Aderogba for winning the Lifetime Achievers Award in housing in Nottingham and Nigeria-wow what a transfer of knowledge and skills here. Don’t give charity, share skills, knowledge, experience and expertise. And then you really learn and know what learning is!

Nadia Anderson, learning skills and employment. Nadia has created a research body of work on exclusion, inclusion and social disadvantage and Nadia writes art too

Ray Henry contribution to learning, skills and development, Sandra Calwell  Ashreen Seathorn  of Futures presented the award for Ray’s 30 year contribution to empowerment of people in Nottingham

Louchavan Lemard Businessman of the year for Think Big Developments Ltd he thanked his partner Ryan Jeffers and the Think Big Developments team for their support.

Debbie Simons Business Woman 2017 Academy Day Nursery thanked Richard Tyers and Ron Chapman and her children for their patience and understanding. Sponsored by Eon Claire Jamieson handed out the award

Michael Forbes and Panya Banjoko cultural and music award  what a dynamic they bring to Nottingham: more collaboration please!

Sir John Peace: ‘Merlita, Merlita, Merlita…the number of people that you have identified over the last six years is  an amazing, thing this is my only opportunity to say ‘thank you’ events like this are very enjoyable: it’s so good to be with family and friends and to recognise people for what they’ve done…what Merlita has started is an event that does just that: it recognises people.

It is important and it is special. I’ve received a letter from the queen. Next year there’s the CHOGM commonwealth Heads of Government (50 countries) for the commonwealth coming to the UK Buckingham the last time the queen is attending as the head of state…” (Post Brexit Britain will be hosting it).

Curtis ‘that got everybody got talking…thank you very much for that sir. Isn’t that nice…a letter from the royal family…I get a letter every year from the income tax: I don’t make a big deal about it….’


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