A racial injustice campaigner, and Church of England’s first Black female vicar, will be honoured at tonight’s Pride of Birmingham Awards 2023. Reverend Canon Eve Pitts has spent her lifetime campaigning against racism and supporting those in her community, and will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at this evening’s ceremony.
Reverend Pitts was made The Church of England’s first Black female vicar back in 1994 and, has since, spent decades supporting parishioners, challenging racism, and calling out institutional prejudice in her own faith.
In addition to her efforts within the Church, Reverend Pitts is passionate about sharing Black history and educating those around her about the reality and legacy of slavery and racism.
She continues to advocate just as fiercely for her parishioners and wider community; leading the Holy Trinity church in Birchfield, Birmingham – an inner-city ward where 90 per cent of the population come from an ethnic minority background. She travels around her community in her spare time listening to the stories of those she calls the “forgotten people”.
Most recently, Reverend Pitts has placed her efforts towards petitioning the Archbishop of Canterbury to recognise August 1st – the date the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act came into force – as Ancestors’ Day. She already has the blessing of the Bishop of Birmingham to visit every slave port in Britain to pay respects to the dead.
To honour her dedication to her Church and community, Reverend Canon Eve Pitts will be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BirminghamLive Pride of Birmingham Awards with TSB 2023 this evening.
The event is being presented by Kym Marsh, who comments: “This is such an amazing group of winners. Their courage, selfless dedication, inspiration and kindness are exactly what the world needs right now. Hearing their incredible stories can’t fail to inspire you, and restore your faith in humanity. I can’t wait to meet them.”
BirminghamLive Pride of Birmingham Awards with TSB returns for another year and will welcome star-studded guests including Strictly Come Dancing’s Amy Dowden, Love Island’s Alex and Olivia Bowen, actor David Bradley, and musicians Ruby Turner and Tony Iommi, to name a few.
Other winners include:
- Child of Courage: Finley Hassall, aged 11 from Kingswinfoord – saved a boy’s life using the RNLI’s ‘Float To Live’ technique.
- Stephen Sutton Inspiration Award: Eva Abley, aged 14 from Cannock – a teenager with cerebral palsy who made it to the finals of Britain’s Got Talent with her comedy routine
- Emergency Services Award: Deena Evans and Michael Hipgrave, aged 41 and 52 from Wolverhampton – two paramedics who were attacked by a knifeman when attending a wellness check with the police.
- Outstanding Contribution: Chris Hoare, aged 75 from Edgbaston – formed the Birmingham Southwest Community Group in the early noughties to reform his crime-ridden estate.
- TSB Community Hero: Asha Rage, aged 45 from Small Heath – set up Dream Chasers FC in Small Heath to help get young people off the streets, which now has 160 players training weekly.
- Triumph Over Adversity: The Chatting Family, from Lichfield – started the charity Carter The Brave and have raised over £330,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
- Special Recognition Award: Dawn Astle, 55 from Swadlincote –Daughter of the former West Brom and England striker Jeff Astle, who died when he was 59 from early onset dementia. She launched the Jeff Astle Foundation in 2015 to raise awareness of brain injury in sport.
- Special Recognition Award: Delores and Hector Pinkney, 71 and 70 from Handsworth – established the UK’s first independent Black organisation, The African Caribbean Self-Help Organisation, and the Dojo Project, which helps elderly people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
- Spirit of Birmingham: The Commonwealth Games Volunteers – the army of 14,000 volunteers, without whom the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games couldn’t have happened.
On their partnership with the awards, Jodie O’Leary, Customer Services Director at TSB, said: “At TSB, we pride ourselves on being at the heart of the communities we serve, and the Pride of Birmingham awards are all about recognising the everyday heroes in those communities. As a proud Brummie myself, it is a huge honour to be part of the judging panel and is truly a humbling and heart-warming experience to hear the amazing stories behind every one of the nominees.”
The BirminghamLive Pride of Birmingham Awards with TSB is available to watch from 9 March, via the official Pride of Britain social media channels: @prideofbritain. To find out more, visit: www.prideofbritain.com/birmingham.