I salute our three new Citizens of Honour

Prof Dr Shive Pande MBE signing the Roll of Honour of Citizens of Honour in Liverpool

Sometimes much of what we do as Councillors is just plain boring or worse. However, uniquely, this 24-hour period has presented me with two opportunities to recognise the work of three people who have made unique contributions to the City of Liverpool over many decades and in very different spheres of influence.

It is people like Shiv Pande, Bill Heckle and Dave Jones who bring so much inspiration to our City, attract so much goodwill to our City and are the real leaders of the City and not those who pump themselves up as Leaders in the normal day-to-day work at the Town Hall. That is why the City Council unanimously nominated them as a Citizen of Honour which is a civic award conferred on individuals who have made significant, exceptional, or unique contributions to enrich the image of Liverpool and/or its citizens.

Shiv Pande is a doctor, faith leader and charity fundraiser who has touched the lives of many is to be made a ‘Citizen of Honour’ in a special ceremony at Liverpool Town Hall on Wednesday, 10 August.

Shiv, who has lived in the city for five decades, started his career as a surgeon at Broadgreen Hospital before going on to serve some of Liverpool’s most disadvantaged communities as a GP for 30 years.

He became the first minority ethnic treasurer to be elected to the General Medical Council, and set up the Professional and Linguistics Assessments Board examination in 1996 in India, which supported the NHS to have junior doctors from different countries around the globe.

On Granada TV, he presented the Asian version of consumer rights programme ‘This Is Your Right’ for 14 years, advising newly arrived Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi communities.

He has also been involved in extensive charity work which has benefited people across the world, including raising funds for orphans of the Indian gas tragedy in Bhopal and the earthquake in Latur. Funds Dr Pande raised were also presented to the Mother Theresa Charity of Calcutta – which included personally presenting the funds to the late Saint Teresa.

Closer to home, he organised cricket matches in memory of Anthony Walker, who was murdered in a racist attack, as well as cricket coaching for unemployed young people by members of the 1983 World Cup winning Indian team.

In 1982, he established the Liverpool Faith Network, and served for 24 years as a magistrate.

There was a good turnout of Lib Dems including three former Lord Mayors to recognise his work also as a Liberal Democrat where he is still an active member of our Executive advising us to on race, equality, and faith issues.

He is a visiting professor at University of Bolton and Gauhati University, Assam, and an Honorary Fellow at the University of Central Lancashire.

Dr Pande was awarded an MBE in 1989 for his services to medicine and appointed as Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside in 2002.

Pioneers of Beatles tourism industry honoured by Liverpool

Bill Heckle and Dave Jones who have made a huge contribution to tourism in our city who will be honoured by us later today

The two men credited as the pioneers of Liverpool’s multi-million-pound Beatles tourism industry are also honoured by their city.

Bill Heckle, Managing Director of Cavern City Tours and Dave Jones, its President, will be made Citizens of Honour at a special ceremony at Liverpool Town Hall later today (11th August)

Bill (a former teacher) trained to be a Beatle guide in 1982 and after forming the company in 1983 was joined by Dave in 1986 when they organised their first Beatles Convention.

1991 proved a landmark year for the dynamic duo as they acquired both The Magical Mystery Tour and – critically – The Cavern Club the fortunes of which they would dramatically transform from a closed building into a major live music venue and hugely popular tourist attraction.

Their Beatles Convention also quickly developed at this time and in 1993 evolved into the Mathew Street Music Festival, which in just a few short years became Europe’s largest annual free event of its kind, attracting more than one hundred live acts and 300,000 people to the city every August Bank Holiday weekend.

One of their greatest and proudest achievements was to organise the Hillsborough Justice Concert at Anfield stadium, in 1997, which helped to raise more than £500,000. This vital sum was used to pay for the legal costs for the families in their pursuit of the truth into the 1989 football disaster.

Bill and Dave later acquired an iconic and historic building in North John Street which became the Hard Day’s Night Hotel. Although no longer the owners, the hotel opened in 2008 during the city’s year as European Capital of Culture and continues to welcome guests today.

Having already unveiled a statue to John Lennon in Mathew Street – as well as the city’s original Pop Music Wall of Fame – to celebrate The Cavern’s 40th anniversary, in 2015 they famously gifted the city a statue of The Beatles.

Situated on the waterfront, the figures of John, Paul, George, and Ringo walking on the Pier Head has become one of the most photographed landmarks in England.

As owners of The Cavern, the pair, along with co-Directors Julia Baird, George Guinness, and Jon Keats, have sought to continue to manage it as a live music venue celebrating new and diverse acts, and as a result helped to play a key role in Liverpool’s status as a UNESCO City of Music.

The world-famous venue has hosted some of the biggest names in the industry such as Oasis, Adele, The Arctic Monkeys, Jessie J, The Coral and in July 2018, Sir Paul McCartney performed a legendary 28-song set promoting his No1 album Egypt Station. He also gave his final concert of the 20th century at The Cavern in December 1999, which was broadcast live by the BBC.

It is estimated that today, the legacy of The Beatles is worth approximately £100m to the Liverpool economy each year, annually attracting more than 600,000 visitors and supporting almost 2,500 jobs in the city.

As Dave Jones will say today, “We never set out to receive awards and accolades. To be nominated for Citizen of Honour awards is amazing. We feel a huge sense of pride and emotion that our work has received this level of recognition.”

And that is true of all our Citizens of Honour. They did not set out to get and award or honour. They set out to create a better Liverpool for us all from their own unique perspectives. Liverpool would be the poorer without people like Shiv, Bill, and Dave and all the others who we have also honoured. We should all be grateful for their efforts in creating the throbbing and diverse City we know it to be today.

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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