A long-serving Wolverhampton councillor collected her OBE from Prince Charles during a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, was recognised for political service and services to local government in the Queen's New Year's Honours List. And she said: “The Investiture at Buckingham Palace was an incredible experience; I was humbled, honoured and extremely privileged.
“I felt overwhelmed and very nervous, but when the name Wolverhampton was mentioned in the recipient announcement, I felt a huge sense of pride. “The award was presented by the Prince of Wales who congratulated me and said: ‘I bet you are pleased to have the day off!’". Councillor Samuels worked for the NHS for nearly four decades until retiring last year, spending 20 years as a theatre sister, working in heart, lung and neurosurgical theatres.
In 2004, she was elected to the council as Labour councillor for Park ward and stood for Parliament in North Shropshire in 2005. She was elected in the Ettingshall ward following a by-election in 2009 and before that had represented West Midlands constituencies on the National Policy Forum, the policy-making body of Government.
Today, she is a member of the council’s Cabinet, Cabinet Resources and Performance Management panels and chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board. As Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Samuels championed Wolverhampton’s fight against obesity, launched in 2014 with a Call to Action to residents, businesses and other groups to come together to tackle the problem in the city, and which included the recent Beat the Street walking, cycling and running challenge that took Wolverhampton by storm.
She has also been a community activist for around 30 years, promoting social justice, equality and community cohesion, and set up the Heritage Centre, an African Caribbean community hub in Whitmore Reans. Councillor Roger Lawrence, Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "I would like to congratulate Councillor Samuels on this award, which is recognition of her service to politics and local government over the years. We are delighted for her.”
Councillor Samuels added: “I am incredibly proud that the work that I – and my fellow councillors – do for our wonderful city has been recognised in this way.”