Ilford principal meets the Queen at Commonwealth Diaspora Reception in Buckingham Palace
PUBLISHED: 13:00 19 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:27 19 February 2018
An Ilford college principal was recognised by the Queen for his positive contribution as a commonwealth citizen.
Dr Bilal Sheikh, of Mont Rose College of Management and Sciences, Cranbrook Road, Ilford, met the Queen at the Commonwealth Diaspora Reception at Buckingham Palace on February 14.
Among more than 200 guests, he represented both Redbridge, where he has lived and worked for more than 18 years, and his country of origin – Pakistan.
Dr Sheikh has been the principal of the college for 12 years.
“I am still in shock, I was not expecting I would be shaking hands with the Queen,” he said.
Dr Sheikh was selected by Deputy Lord Lieutenant Thomas Chan to attend the event alongside other dignitaries including prime minister Theresa May, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall,
Pakistan is one of 53 member states in the Commonwealth - the former territories of the British Empire.
Commenting on why he felt he had been selected, he said: “I think it’s because of our college’s achievements.”
He added: “And after Brexit, [the UK] wants closer co-ordination with the Commonwealth countries.”
Last year, Mont Rose College was commended in its Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), and was deemed to meet UK expectations in its maintenance of academic standards, and the quality of student learning opportunities among other areas.
Last year, only 6pc of colleges assessed by QAA received this rating.
Commenting on the positive rating, Dr Sheikh added: “We are very delighted to receive such an exceptional review from QAA, which demonstrates our continuous improvement in our infrastructure and commitment to provide an excellent education to communities around us.”
The college also donated £975 to Haven House Hospice, in Woodford Green, at the Mayor of Redbridge’s charity dinner held at Bancroft’s School, Woodford Green last week.
The Commonwealth is home to more than 2.4 billion citizens across the world.
Prince Harry has been offered an official role in the organisation, the Sunday Times revealed.
This move comes amid speculation that Commonwealth leaders have met in secret to consider whether Prince Charles should take over as the head of the organisation after the Queen dies.