Prime Minister Boris Johnson recognised Jay Singh-Sohal for his exceptional service commemorating Sikh contributions to the British Armed Forces.
Jay, from Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands, led the successful campaign to create the UK’s only memorial to the more than 120,000 Sikh soldiers who fought during the First World War.
The Conservative candidate for West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner, Jay is an Army Reserve Captain, also working with the British Army to commemorate Sikh contributions to the British Armed Forces on Saragarhi Day, every September.
The Battle of Saragarhi saw 21 Sikh soldiers fight for the British Indian Army and defend the North-West Frontier with Afghanistan against 10,000 enemy forces in 1897. While the battle has long been commemorated in India by the Indian Army, Jay was inspired to bring commemorations to the UK to serve as an opportunity to engage British Sikhs with their heritage and celebrate continued Sikh contributions to the British military today.
He is the latest recipient of the Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
In a personal letter to Jay PM Johnson said: “I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how you have created our country’s first memorial to the 120,000 brave Sikh soldiers who fought during the First World War. It is fitting that we honour their enormous courage and sacrifice in ensuring the freedoms we all enjoy today.”
Jay, the 1244th winner of the Points of Light award, which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA, said:
“I’m delighted to be receiving a Points of Light award from the Prime Minister.
“Telling the story of shared British Sikh history through the battle of Saragarhi has been a fantastic journey working with wonderful people with the same enthusiasm for our heritage. It continues to inspire many more to serve our country in whichever way they can.
I’m proud of the part I’ve been able to play in driving grassroots community activity in this way”.