The recently appointed Vice Lord-Lieutenant for the West Midlands, Beverly Lindsay has a remarkable life story to tell, from being on her own at 20 with two sons to winning honours from queen and country
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
I am founder and general manager of Diamond Travel, one of Birmingham’s leading independent travel agencies. I was born in St Thomas, Jamaica and came to Birmingham as a teenager to complete my secondary education. I worked in nursing and midwifery before becoming a senior community worker in Handsworth. Then I worked in finance and established Diamond Travel in 1987. I am a mentor and champion of the African Caribbean community in Birmingham, the UK and internationally. In 2012, I became the first African-Caribbean woman president of Birmingham Rotary Club. In 2008, I was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican Government. Three years later I received the OBE from the Queen. In 2013, I was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands. I am a member of the New Testament Church of God, Handsworth.
IT’S WHAT I DO
In July, I was appointed Vice Lord-Lieutenant for the West Midlands. With the Lord-Lieutenant, we represent the Queen in the county, attending more than 400 engagements a year. The role involves arranging visits by members of the Royal Family and accompanying them. We also represent the Queen at various duties and present certain honours, medals and awards.
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE
My goal for the next three years is to assist the Lord-Lieutenant in the promotion of the West Midlands and encourage people to nominate those who they think merit individual honours and awards. I am also keen to promote greater community cohesion.
I have a deep fear of failure, so I try to do the best I can in all that I do. I feel very blessed by the many unbelievable accolades bestowed upon me. I have also survived more than 30 years as a sole trader in a very competitive business.
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED
People are not always what they seem, and so I would be more cautious in trusting people. I tell myself not to make rash decisions.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM
When I came to Birmingham, my first impression was that it was cold, dull and with so many factories – not realising that they were houses with smoke coming out of the chimneys too! I soon settled as the diverse culture which is now the pride of Birmingham was already evident. Birmingham is the heart of England with that extra ‘heart beat’ that makes you feel life is going to be OK – you can be anything you want to be regardless of background, colour or beliefs. I love visiting the country of my birth, Jamaica, but I am always happy to return home to Birmingham.
I enjoy reading, particularly crime novels. I also love to cook and bake for friends and family.
My mother came to England in pursuit of a better life, working hard to send funds home. I joined the family to complete my education and to embark on a nursing career. All did not go to plan and by the age of 20, I was on my own with two sons. I was at a crossroads and needed to make something of my life – so, here I am today!