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BIRMINGHAM REP HUB NAMED AFTER ME

I am proud to have the Young Rep Hub named after me and to be the Patron of Youth and Education at Birmingham Rep, which is a wonderful privilege.

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MULTI-CULTURAL BUSINESS & COMMUNITY AWARDS

I was declared as the 'Motivational Queen' in 2022 and awarded the Multi-Cultural Business & Community Lifetime Achievement Award in Birmingham

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HARPER’S BAZAAR WOMEN OF THE YEAR

I was super thrilled to be named as a Woman of the Year by Harper’s Bazaar in 2020

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EUROPEAN DIVERSITY AWARDS

I was honoured and overjoyed to receive the European Diversity Lifetime Award in 2023 for my contribution to ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ for the last 50 years.

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WOMEN IN FILM & TELEVISION LIFETIME AWARD

I was honoured to receive the Women in Film & Television Lifetime Award for my contribution to the creative industry. I was presented tome my one of my Playschool Babies, Nikki Amuka-Bird. I played her mum in the BBC drama ‘Line of Beauty’ and she told me I inspired her when he was a little girl so it was very appropriate.

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TOP 50 WOMEN INFLUENCE LIST

I was thrilled to be included in the Independent Women 2024 - Top 50 Influence List, for my contribution to many different issues in politics in the House of Lords. These included speaking out about the delays in the Windrush Compensation Scheme and demanding legislation to prevent children from easily accessing online pornography.

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My autobiography: What are you doing here?

I wrote my autobiography because so many people kept asking me how I got to where I am today. So at age 72 I decided to write it. What I didn’t realise was that I have done so much and could only include a fraction of what I have achieved in my incredible life…I kept thinking how blessed I am and saying to myself... ‘Who would have thought!'

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CORONATION OF KING CHARLES III

I was part of an historic event which was seen by millions of people across the world.

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Order of Merit

Two days before the late Queen Elizabeth II died she appointed me to the Order of Merit which is the highest honour in the land and is bestowed by the Monarch to only 24 living people.

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National Windrush Monument

In 2018 I was appointed by the then Prime Minister to Chair of the Windrush Commemoration Committee to be in charge of overseeing the creation of the National Windrush Monument celebrating and acknowledging the contribution made by Caribbean people to Britain.

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My latest book

My latest 'Coming to England’ book, a version for 4 year olds, comes out on the 8th October and I’m very excited.

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My Statue at Exeter University

Here I am with my statue which was commissioned by Exeter University when I stepped down as Chancellor after 10 years

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Damehood Medal

On the 12th March 2020 I was thrilled to go to Buckingham Palace to collect my Damehood Medal, which I received for over 40 years of charitable work.

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Royal Ascot

I had the honour of presenting the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. It was a wonderful 'who would have thought' moment. It was an unforgettable day.

Brighton Conference

I spoke at the AGR Student Recruitment Conference in Brighton and got a lovely standing ovation.

Hay Festival

This year I was part of the Hay Festival. One of the biggest literary festivals in country.

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Spring Watch: Unsprung

Adored being on BBC Springwatch Unsprung, talking about children being encouraged to link up with nature.

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Children’s BAFTA Awards

Had the wonderful evening at the 20th Children’s BAFTA Awards.

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Women of the Year Lunch

Attended the annual Women of the Year Lunch, founded by the inspirational and visionary Lady ‘Tony’ Lothian

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CROSSRAIL

Had the wonderful experience of visiting CROSSRAIL.

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The Selfish Giant

Returned to Jersey after 34 years to narrate Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Selfish Giant’ with the Jersey Chamber Orchestra conducted by the talented Daniel Cohen.

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Barnardo’s Event

I am a vice president of the wonderful children’s charity Barnardo’s

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Tobago

Tobago is a wonderful island in the Caribbean and I just returned from a lovely official visit there.

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Monaco Grand Prix

As soon as I got back I was off to the Monaco Grand Prix to see Lewis Hamilton race.

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Royal Geographical Society

Next stop was the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington where I was interviewed by the lovely Sian Williams

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Exeter Cathedral School

On the 5th May I had the honour and privilege to open Exeter Cathedral School’s new nursery.

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The University Tremough campus

The next day I went on to Cornwall and visited The University Tremough campus there.

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Draper’s Hall in the City of London

On the 19th March I was guest speaker at Draper’s Hall in the City of London.

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Hull as the City of Culture

On the 20th March I was in Hull to support the Lib-Dem candidate for Hull West & Hessle, Claire Thomas.

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Battersea Sports Stadium

On Saturday 28th Feb I went along to Battersea Sports Stadium and gave an inspirational talk to all the wonderful runners who will be taking part in this year’s London Marathon and raising money for Barnardo’s.

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Meet Tate Britain

On the 9th February I hosted a tour around Tate Britain, called ‘Meet Tate Britain’. I talked about the representation of childhood in Art and I was surprised to find so many paintings at the Tate with children in them.

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Victoria International School

On the 17th February I visited one of my favourite schools, the Victoria International School of Sharjah in UAE. I visited the infant’s school where I sang some of my old Playschool action songs and interacted with the young children. I love their joy and excitement for the world.

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The Arms of Britannia

I remember vividly 50 years ago my head teacher Mrs Bowles, a stout woman of vision, arranging for us to watch on television, the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill. I wrote about this emotional occasion in my book ‘The Arms of Britannia’

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Len Garrison Memorial Lecture

On the 20th November I had the honour and privilege of giving the inaugural ‘Len Garrison Memorial Lecture’

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Lord Michael Grade and Tim Weber

On the 19th Feb 2014 I was presenting the annual awards for the British Kinematograph Sound & Television Society (BKSTS). Winners included Lord Michael Grade and Tim Weber for his work on BAFTA winning film Gravity.

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CSR Waitrose

I have just been appointed to the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Board of Waitrose

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Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

I have been appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon Avon.

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Royal Air Force Museum

On the first of November 2013, I opened a fantastic exhibition at the Royal Air Force Museum in North London

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Graduation at Exeter Uni

Graduation at Exeter Uni was another spiritual and inspirational year with graduates promising...

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Positano, Italy

In July me and the band did a gig in Positano, Italy.

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Professor Tim Niblock

I went to Sharjah to award an Exeter honorary degree to Professor Tim Niblock who is highly respected there. I also visited the Victoria International School and met the children and teachers.

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Black History Month

I have been visiting schools and libraries across the country speaking about Black History Month.

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Women of the Year Lunch

Another wonderful Women of the Year Lunch was celebrated at the Intercontinental Hotel, Park Lane.

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Exeter University Visit

Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Exeter University where I am the Chancellor to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee and open our stunning new Forum

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When I’m 65

I was 65 on 23rd September 2014 and I intend to grow old stylishly!

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Action for Children’s Arts

On the 20th of October 2012, I had the honour of being awarded the J.M Barrie Award by Action for Children’s Arts.

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I love to do motivational, inspirational speeches.

I visit many schools, colleges and business organisations, both in the UK and abroad, speaking to audiences of all ages. It’s so rewarding to see the reaction of children and adults who had to go through and are still going through terrible adversity and personal dilemmas.