The Bidgely Power Foundation, an Aston based Charity undertook an initiative to recognize the local heroes of Aston; heroes who in their own way try to bring about change in the neighbourhood. The Bidgely Power Foundation is an association that works to bring unity and cohesion in the segregated community of Aston. On the evening of the 28th of September all of Aston came together to award local heroes who did not do extraordinary things but who did ordinary things extraordinarily. Mark Van Beeumen was one of the 21 award winners.
There was a lot of work invested in the event that was hosted on 28th September. The Chairman of the Bidgely Power Foundation, Mr. Pritesh Pattin of Indian origin and Mohamed Arshad of Pakistan origin and a few others who have been residents of Aston for over 30 years took the initiative of hosting the event to build bridges in the neighbourhood. With the view of recognizing the selfless sacrifice of people who tried to reach out to others in spite of the difference in creed, colour, culture or cast. The Charity decided to award people under twenty one categories. The categories were unique and distinctive. I too got the opportunity to volunteer with this organization in going around door to door advertising for the event, requesting people to vote for the deserving people. Mr. Pretesh and I went to New Star Radio station, a local radio station to spread the news about the undertaking. People could nominate their parents, relatives, friends, neighbours or even themselves. The categories were for example: Best Neighbour, Best Career, Best Young Volunteer, Best Chemist, Best Teacher, Best Takeaway, Best Business. All the nominees had to be connected with Aston either living here or working here.
It was very interesting to see the category “Best Community Champion” in the voting list, because it the job title of Mark at Tesco. A few weeks before the event, I got the opportunity to celebrate mass at Sacred Heart Church, Aston. I suggested that parishners might vote for Mark. The parishners were very generous in sparing the time to fill in the voting sheets. And Mark got highest number of votes as the community champion and was selected for the award.
On 28th of September the award ceremony was held at Broadway school in Aston. The event to award the local heroes was hosted with distinguished guests. It was an evening to remember. It was a great gathering of people from different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds. With music, a fashion show, and above all a great Indian food the event was colourful and memorable. A member of European Parliament Nikki Sinclaire presented the Oscar to Mark. With Mark’s Manager Kate Crehan and me on the stage Mark received the Aston Oscar. Mark spoke a few words about the function and role of the Cordate Community in the neighbourhood.
We appreciate the innovation of the Bidgely Power foundation in bringing the segregated Aston neighbourhood together. It was the only time since I arrived in the UK that I was able to meet people from different ethnic and religious groups under one roof. It was indeed good beginning for bringing about unity. Mark and I are volunteers with the Bidgely Power Foundation now. We are looking forward to engaging in more activities in Aston.