Celebrities and some of the country’s most influential business leaders turned out in force for the Burberry-sponsored British Diversity Awards last night which were hosted by June Sarpong, OBE.
Little Mix songstress Leigh-Anne Pinnock led the winners after being recognised for her campaigning work against racism. The chart-topping singer received the “Media Champion” award at the ceremony for her groundbreaking BBC documentary Race, Pop and Power which highlighted her experiences as a black woman in the music industry.
Westlife’s Mark Feehily, who recently appeared on ITV’s Masked Singer, collected the Global Recognition Award for Diversity. The Flying Without Wings star, who has notched up a staggering 14 number one singles with Westlife, is a vocal campaigner for surrogacy rights for LGBT+ families.
Commenting on his win, Feehily said: “This is an incredible honour and the most meaningful award I have collected in my career. I mean, I’ve won awards for my music and awards with Westlife but this is something very special. I am proud and I hope it goes some way towards highlighting the issues still faced by LGBT+ families who want to start families of their own. There is still a lot to do and our work will not stop until we have achieved full equality.”
Sky Sports presenter and former Liverpool FC and England defender, Jamie Carragher, won an award for his work with a number of social mobility charities. In 2020, the big-name football personality launched Football For Change – a social mobility movement aimed at helping disadvantaged young people from socially and economically challenged communities into education employment.
Meanwhile banking giant NatWest picked up an award for its supplier diversity programme, with high street favourite Boots named Company of the Year.
Ian Donaldson, who is the CEO of Manchester-based Ardonagh Retail – part of the £4billion Ardonagh Group, was crowned Diversity Champion of the Year. The insurance chief leads Ardonagh’s LGBT+ network and has been a major supporter of initiatives like Manchester Pride and the British LGBT Awards while also launching social mobility initiative Football For Change.
ITV & Scopes Invisible Disabilities campaign, which saw off stiff competition from organisations such as Transport for London and Lloyds TSB, won Marketing Campaign of the Year. Meanwhile, LGBT+ anti abuse charity Galop pipped the likes of Stonewall Housing Association and Black Minds Matter to the prestigious Charity of the Year accolade and received a generous donation of £10,000 from Burberry.
Powerful human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who has fought for LGBT+ rights for over two decades, campaigning against Section 28 throughout the 1980s and famously staging a one-man protest near the statue of Marshal Zhukov in Moscow’s Red Square against Russia’s treatment of LGBT+ people during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, was given the special Lifetime Achievement Award.
The awards celebrate the individuals and organisations working to promote equality, diversity and inclusion, acknowledging milestones in business, media, politics and grassroots activism.
All strands of diversity
British Diversity Awards founder, Linda Riley, said: “I’d like to congratulate all of the deserving winners at this year’s Burberry British Diversity Awards.
“The awards shine a light on the individuals, organisations, charities and unsung heroes who help to make the world and workplaces a better place for others across all strands of diversity.
“In a world where hate and division is being sown in some quarters, we believe that by continuing to celebrate Equality, Diversity and Inclusion we can help make the UK and indeed the universe a better place to live and work for everyone.”
Erica Bourne, Chief People Officer, Burberry added: “We are incredibly proud to have supported the inaugural British Diversity Awards. The ceremony has been a true celebration of inspiring individuals, highlighting the incredible contributions from both winners and nominees to creating an inclusive world. Their stories showcase the power of coming together, overcoming adversity and standing up for real change. We are grateful to all the judges, organisers, teams and guests for being part of this memorable event and hope these awards will empower many others to use their voice to champion progress.”