Derek McAuley short-listed for Diversity Awards

Derek McAuley Chief Officer of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches has been nominated as a Positive Role Model in the Race, Faith and Religion category at The National Diversity Awards.

The ceremony celebrates some of the excellent and inspiring achievements of positive role models and community organisations from across the UK. The awards aim to recognise nominees in their respective fields of diversity including age, disability, gender, race, faith, religion and sexual orientation.

Derek McAuley has been Chief Officer of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches in Great Britain since 2009. He is a healthcare manager by profession and before taking up his post with the General Assembly worked in NHS . He was honoured with an award of Companionship of the Institute of Healthcare Management in 2005. He is a member of the Chartered Management Institute. As well as involvement as a Trustee of several Unitarian institutions, he is also a trustee of the Cutting Edge Consortium and of Dr Williams’s Library, London. He has recently been elected as a trustee of the Inter Faith Network of the United Kingdom.

An active campaigner for same sex marriage, he gave oral evidence to the House of Commons Public Bills Committee during the scrutiny process of the legislation as it passed through Parliament. He has been quoted in The Times, The Guardian, Pink News and Huffington He has recently prepared a worship pack for Unitarians on the 200th Anniversary of the Unitarian Tolerance Act which removed penalties against holders of Unitarian beliefs.

Rev’d Martin Whitell, Convenor of the Unitarian Executive Committee, welcomed the nomination:

“Derek McAuley as Chief Officer of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches has been committed and energetic in promoting our deeply held views about equal rights and the celebration of diversity in matters of gender, race and sexual orientation. He has engaged with National Government, other faith communities and likeminded action groups to bring about the successful passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. He has supported the efforts of Scottish Unitarians in promoting similar legislation provisions in the Scottish Parliament. His measured style and attention to detail combined with a passionate belief in doing what is right is an example to all and a credit to our particular faith community. He would be a very worthy recipient of the award.”

Derek McAuley said:

“It was a surprise to be nominated and a pleasure to be shortlisted. Inclusion has always formed part of the Unitarian ethos and we have worked to promote diversity across our movement and with others. I am honoured to be nominated and see the nomination as recognition of both my own personal contribution, particularly to the achievement of equal marriage on both civil and religious settings, and acknowledgement of the lead given over many years by many Unitarians”

The National Diversity Awards, to be held at the Queens Hotel on September 20th, will honour the outstanding achievements of grass root communities who have contributed to making a more diverse and inclusive society.

Leeds will play host to the prestigious black-tie event which has been sponsored by a growing list of top employers including Microsoft, Transport for London, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), Sky, MI5, The Co-operative Group, The Open University and the Financial Ombudsman Service amongst others.

The awards have gained a mass of celebrity support from the likes of Stephen Fry, paralympians Jody Cundy and Claire Harvey and singing sensation Misha B.

Misha Commented, “I’m delighted to be a patron of The National Diversity Awards; A great opportunity to recognise and celebrate diversity in all its glory”

TV personality Brian Dowling will take to the stage once again to host the evening, along with British actress and CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell.

Brian said; ‘Last year was an amazing night filled with so many inspirational people, and it made a change to be at a national event that recognised the different variety of talent that the UK has to offer’

‘I look forward to witnessing what the 2013 ceremony will bring, but I know another fantastic array of role models and charities will be celebrated’

Veteran activist Peter Tatchell was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at last year’s ceremony, alongside Zita Holbourne, recognised for tirelessly fighting social and racial justice over the last 20 years.

Paul Sesay, founder of The NDA’s said; ‘Well done to all shortlisted nominees. We had an overwhelming amount of nominations this year and the standard has been exceptional.’

‘I know another fantastic spectacle of role models will be delivered and recognised this year’.

Winners will be announced at The National Diversity Awards 2013.


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