Bradford-born Adeeba Malik, the deputy chief executive of the QED charity in her home city, attended the Royal palace in London to be presented with a CBE for her services as a British Muslim woman on mainstream public bodies.
The Prince presided over the investiture ceremony and afterwards Miss Malik told The Yorkshire Post: “When Prince Charles gave the award to me, the first thing he said was ‘you’re back again’. It was he who awarded me with my MBE ten years ago. He then said ‘sorry to disappoint you, it’s me again’. He’d remembered me, I couldn’t believe it - he is a top man.
“He told me to keep up the great work and that it was a marvellous achievement and I said I would like to say thank you personally for all the excellent work you do in understanding different culture in our country - he has shown great leadership. I do feel he tries to understand the diversity of our country.”
The daughter of a Pakistani immigrant, Miss Malik’s early career was in teaching, in Hull and then Bradford, having studied for a degree in teaching at Hull University. She then joined QED, an organisation which has grown from humble beginnings to become the country’s leading ethnic minority-focused education, employment and training provider.
Over the years, Miss Malik has also taken on numerous public service roles, including as a board member of regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, a governor of Sheffield Hallam University and chair of the Ethnic Minority Business Forum for the Department of Trade and Industry.
Miss Malik was awarded an MBE for services to ethnic minorities in 2004.
She said QED’s work around diversity and community cohesion remains just as relevant and important today as it always has done.
“It’s still in the interests of our politicians - we are talking about issues such as language, integration of communities, and with the EU referendum coming up, all these things are related.”
On finally collecting her CBE - having initially been named as a recipient in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list in January last year - she said: “It’s just an amazing experience and very humbling. I just want to be able to continue to do things that I believe in.”