Express & Star

Royal honour for local men as they become deputy lieutenants

A leading figure helping young people to get into employment and a veteran fundraiser have been given the honour of becoming Deputy Lieutenants for the West Midlands.


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Kevin Roy Davis and "Blind" Dave Heeley are two of four new people whose backgrounds range from education, support for young people, leaders in diversity and inclusion, motivation, engagement and communications and who have been appointed by the Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Sir John Crabtree.

The West Midlands is the second largest Lieutenancy in the country and the Deputy Lieutenants get involved in many initiatives to support the community and recognise the people who make a difference to others.

The appointments of Mr Davis and Mr Heeley, alongside Owen Everton Burke from Birmingham and Lesley Wilde from Solihull, bring the total of Deputy Lieutenants in the Midlands to 75 and showcase people who have already achieved outstanding and incredible achievements and have helped people along the way to improve their lives.

Kevin Roy Davis has worked tirelessly to support and help young people, often from challenging backgrounds to get into work and to make a difference with their lives.

He is the Group Chief Executive of The Vine Trust Group that includes social enterprises that focus on education, employment and engagement of young people, and has actively participated in many groups to improve opportunities for young people, including those that encourage diversity and support black young people to reach their potential.

He was the Founder of St Matthews’ Education Campus in Walsall in 2022 and the Diversity & Inclusion Winner in 2020 at the Business Desk West Midlands Leadership Award, as well as being a Board Member of the West Midlands Regional Leadership Board (Business in the Community).

Kevin Roy Davis has worked tirelessly to support and help young people to get into work and to make a difference with their lives.

Dave Heeley has been described as an inspirational person and regularly gives motivational speeches to the delight of audiences.

Despite being blind, he has taken up the challenges of extreme sports and achieved so much, such as being the first blind person to accomplish seven marathons in seven days across seven continents.

He has participated in 16 London Marathons, 18 Great North Runs, the Marathon De Sables, the toughest foot race across the Sahara Desert and the toughest Triathlon Escape from Alcatraz in San Francisco and has walked 90 miles of Hadrian’s Wall in five days.

His achievements have led him to receiving BBC West Midlands Sports Personality of the Year 2008, awarded in 2011 an Honorary Doctorate from Wolverhampton University, while in 2012, he was made Freeman of the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell.

In 2014 the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, gave him the 80th Points of Light Award and in 2017 he collected a Pride of Britain Award for fund-raising.

He received an OBE in 2020 in The Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The Lord-Lieutenant for the West Midlands, Sir John Crabtree OBE, said the appointments are being announced as the West Midlands celebrates its existence for the last 50 years and reflects the forward-thinking and community spirit across the region.

The Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands John Crabtree said it was terrific to have people like Kevin and Dave being appointed as Deputy Lieutenants. Photo: Dale Martin

He said: “I’m proud of what has been achieved in the region over the years and I’m excited by the new projects and activities that are taking forward the West Midlands.

"It is heart-warming to see so many people giving so much of themselves to help others and these new Deputy Lieutenants are some of the terrific people we have here that are making such a difference to our community.

"I know they will complement the existing Deputy Lieutenants and help our activities that include community initiatives recognising at every level the people who devote their lives to improving those of others.”

The West Midlands Lieutenancy comprises Birmingham, Coventry Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton. It was established in 1974.

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