Pandemic service awards given to community heroes, including "Skipping Sikh"

In a reduced ceremony at St James's Palace the Prince of Wales presented 32 recipients with awards. This was the first investiture in 15 months.

Pandemic service awards given to community heroes, including "Skipping Sikh"

One of the many community heroes honored in the first royal investiture ceremony after the national lockdown was lifted were a'skipping Sikh' who kept Britons healthy and a carer who helped vulnerable war veterans during the pandemic.

The first 15-month investiture was held in February. Recipients wore face covers and took their insignia to the Throne Room from a cushion.

The prince presented 32 awards in a smaller ceremony at St James's Palace, London, Wednesday.

Rajinder Harzall was one of them. He was named MBE during Covid-19 for his services to health and fitness. Rajinder had raised more than PS14,000 through sharing his skipping videos via social media.

Charles, 74 years old, told Charles that he inspired him to skip.

He said, "I'm very thankful for this honor."

"I spoke to Prince Charles, and he stated that he would try skipping. Then he mentioned that we were both born in the same month. He was delighted."

When asked if he would teach the heir to throne skiing lessons, Mr Harzall said, "Why not!"

Mr Harzall, a resident of Hayes in west London, moved from Punjab in 1970s to England and became a Heathrow Airport driver.

At the ceremony, he wore his orange turban and "Skipping Singh" sports jacket. He said that it was difficult to skip because the turban requires you to raise (the rope).

"But I advise old people to try, even if it's sitting exercise. Don't lose heart."

According to Mr Harzall, his father, a soldier, taught him how to ski at five years old. His daughter Minreet Kaur was there with him and encouraged him to post his skipping videos to Twitter.

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