Wednesday 28 October 2015 – Media Release

East London Community Champions Recognised by Canary Wharf Group Awards

Canary Wharf Group is delighted to announce the winners of its second annual ‘Community Champions’ Awards which recognise and celebrate the incredible voluntary work of nine individuals who are true champions in their local community.

The winners’ achievements were celebrated at an awards ceremony hosted by Canary Wharf Group hosted at its Level39 fintech accelerator on Monday 26 October 2015.

Zakir Khan, Head of Community Affairs at Canary Wharf Group said: “As we embark on our residential development pipeline here at Canary Wharf, it is more important than ever to celebrate the residents in our existing local communities who contribute so much to those around them our Community Champions ceremony provides the opportunity to highlight and acknowledge the contribution of these individuals and show our appreciation.” 

Award recipients attended with friends and family which comprised a short presentation outlining their achievements, followed by a 3-course dinner.

The nine award recipients were Lorraine Cavanagh OBE, Mohammed Derek Cox OBE, Shahagir Bakth Faruk, Golam Mostafa, Elaine Sadler, Abdul Aziz Sardar, Jean Thomas, Baroness Pola Uddin,  and Sally Yoxall. Each person was presented with a framed certificate signed by Sir George Iacobescu CBE, Canary Wharf Group’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, along with £250 to donate to a community organisation of their choice.

Awards were presented by senior members of the Canary Wharf Group and distinguished guests including Chief Inspector Mark Long, Councillor Abdul Mukit MBE, Speaker of Tower Hamlets, and Commander John Ludgate, Deputy Lieutenant for Tower Hamlets.


For more information, please contact:  
Canary Wharf Group press office
020 7418 2000

Notes to Editors

Details of the award recipients

Lorraine Cavanagh OBE – Presented by Speaker of Tower Hamlets, Cllr Abdul Mukit MBE

Organisations: Docklands Settlements CEO, Women of the round table, The Millwall parks committee and Trustee for Mudchute farm.

  • This year marks the 31st anniversary of Lorraine working for the Dockland Settlements
  • Lorraine started 31 years ago as a cleaner at the Isle of Dogs Community Centre and has gradually risen through the ranks to become CEO of Dockland Settlements, gaining an OBE along the way
  • Lorraine has raised a considerable amount of funding in cash, pro bono support and through new social enterprises such as Park View Play care centre in Millwall Park
  • Lorraine has served her local community and that of Rotherhithe and Stratford for an extensive time and with incredible passion

Mohammed Derek Cox OBE – Presented by Danny Seliger, Director of Administration, Canary Wharf Group

Organisation: Nominated Support Foster Carer, St. Hilda’s East, YWCA Avenues, Tower Hamlets Law Centre

  • Derek was one of the first 90 nationally qualified youth workers and one of the longest standing when he retired after 52 years working from bases in and around Brick Lane
  • The core of his career focused on community outreach work ranging from providing play equipment, group outings, visiting police stations as a young person’s advocate and supporting families in immigration, employment, benefits, and legal issues
  • Derek was awarded an OBE in 1995 for “Services to Young People” and since 2006 he has acted as a Nominated Support Foster Carer for infants aged 0 to 3 years
  • Derek has shared his knowledge and expertise on the Management Committee of the Tower Hamlets Law Centre since 1973, served on Home Office Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs 1975 to 1985, been an Open University External Lecturer for the Essex Youth Apprenticeship Scheme 1990 to 1993 and has written a book “A Community Approach to Youth Work in East London”.

Shahagir Bakth Faruk – Presented by Commander John Ludgate

Organisation: Suprobash, a trustee of ‘People like Us’, Shahnan Employment, British Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce

  • S B Faruk’s contribution to the community spans over four decades. In 1983 he established Shahnan Employment and Training Bureau in Brick Lane which provided skilled staff for the expanding catering industry all over the country
  • He has authored a book in Bengali on food hygiene which was launched in the famous Ekush book fair in Dhaka
  • S B Faruk is a judge for renowned “British Curry Award” which was termed as a curry Oscar by the Prime Minister David Cameron
  • Mr Faruk is a founder member of London Millennium Bridge Club, a fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health, a member of the London Historic Society, a ‘Freeman of the City of London’ and currently serves as a senior advisor to the British- Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce, having served as its President in the past

Golam Mostafa – Presented by David Fendley, Canary Wharf Group Personnel Manager

Organisation: Udichi Shilpi Goshti UK, Boishaki Mela

  • Golam has been involved in the Cultural movement since a very young age and is a founder member and president of Udichi Shilpi Goshti UK, which formed in 1989 in response to the social and cultural needs of the Bangladeshi community in Britain
  • He is also a founder member of the Boishaki Mela (Bengali New year Celebration) which begun its journey in Brick Lane and now welcomes tens of thousands of visitors to Victoria Park each year
  • Golam has been instrumental in delivering many cultural initiatives in Tower Hamlets, Greater London and Europe and tirelessly led the campaign to promote Bangladeshi literature and culture locally, nationally and internationally
  • Mr Mostafa has received several awards recognising his contribution to the community including the Civic Award by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in 2010 for his contribution in the arts and culture

Elaine Sadler – Presented by Chief Inspector Mark Long (Safer Neighbourhoods)

Organisation: Globe Town Community Association,

  • Elaine first started working with older people in an old people’s home, where she worked for approximately 15 years
  • She then went on to be a publican, and would often hold fundraising events in aid of Children with disabilities, local people who had terminal illnesses and raised funds for the local football team
  • When Elaine had more time on her hands she devoted her efforts to collecting for the Children’s Cancer Ward at both the Royal London Hospital and Barts.  She would often take bags full of toys, games and goodies for the children. The children referred to her as “The Bag Lady”
  • For the past 12 years Elaine has volunteered at the Globetown Community Association
  • During this time she worked with older residents organising Bingo, knitting classes, arranging days out and organised social events for other members of the community

Abdul Aziz Sardar –Presented by Matt Maer, Director, Group Security & Business Continuity

Organisation: THESIS Trust UK, Voice for Justice UK, Bromley by Bow Centre (Previously), Poplar Harca

  • Mr Sardar is a former Councillor and Mayor of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  • During his political career he has held many Cabinet and lead member positions; from chairing the local labour Party to being the chair of the Education Committee.
  • He has been working in the community for the past 40 year and has a real sense of passion for community cohesion and strives to build racial and social harmony amongst diverse communities of Tower Hamlets.
  • He is the current chair of governing body for Mariner Primary School; a founder and Chair of a girl’s college in Bangladesh which aims to provide education and support to disadvantaged women in rural areas of Bangladesh.

Jean Thomas – Presented by: Robert Rams, Chief of Staff, GLA
Organisation: Lin Berwick Trust; Trustee of Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest

  • Jean Thomas has lived in Poplar all of her life
  • She was a Primary School Teacher at Chisenhale School in Bow for 40 years and after retiring became a school governor there for 14 years. She is currently a governor of Alice Model Nursery School in Stepney
  • She sings with and is the Secretary of the London Docklands Singers and is a member and worship leader at Poplar Methodist Church
  • Jean was the Chair of the Island Neighbourhood Project for 15 years until its closure in November 2014, where she was committed to making a difference to the lives of the people on the Isle of Dogs

Baroness Pola Manzila Uddin – Presented by John Loughlin, Vice Principal, University of East London

Organisation: Social services, ‘Breaking the Cycle’ Project, various NGO’s

  • Baroness Pola Uddin has dedicated her life to community work and is one of the leading pioneer activists of east London
  • A determined frontline campaigner, advocating social justice and human rights, at the forefront of the early 80’s community struggles for equality and empowerment of women
  • She led and supported numerous NGOs that led to the development of community housing, education, health and disability work in tower hamlets subsequently becoming a councillor and elected as Deputy Leader of Tower Hamlets council in 1992
  • In 1998, Paula was appointed a life peer and became the first person of Bangladeshi heritage and Muslim to enter the House of Lords
  • Professionally, Paula worked in Social Services and more recently led the national drugs pilot ‘Breaking the Cycle Project’ working with families across the country affected by drugs and alcohol

Sally Yoxall – Presented by Zakir Khan

Organisation: Island Neighbourhood Project

  • For more than 14 years Sally was a familiar face in community work on the Isle of Dogs
  • She coordinated the work of the Island Neighbourhood Project (INP) which sought to make a difference to the lives of people who were frequently isolated within their own communities.
  • Working alongside local people of all ethnic backgrounds, INP ran projects on the Island for women, men and older people. In all this, Sally was the person who held the projects together – first as the administrator then as the Project Manager
  • Her local knowledge and contacts helped to make sure that INP worked in partnership with other local organisations
  • Together with Jean Thomas, Sally was a tireless fundraiser for the work of INP and for those who might benefit from it
  • Sally became an advocate for a few elderly residents of the Island who were suffering with dementia. She still visits, supports and takes on specific responsibility for some of these people

Canary Wharf Group plc has overseen the largest urban regeneration project ever undertaken in Europe, designing and building more than 16m sq ft of iconic London real estate which now houses local and international companies and renowned retailers.

The Canary Wharf Estate is a major retail destination comprising five shopping malls, including the new leisure development, Crossrail Place, housing one of London’s most stunning roof gardens.  It also has world-class, year-round arts and events programme offering over 100 diverse and culturally inspiring events performed throughout the Estate.

Canary Wharf Group is a wholly owned joint venture between Brookfield Property Partners and the Qatar Investment Authority.