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A doctor who returned to the front line during the Covid pandemic broke down in tears after receiving an honour – urging the Government to do more to solve the cost of living crisis.

Dr Raghib Ali, a consultant in acute medicine at Oxford University Hospitals took leave from his university work to volunteer unpaid during the pandemic.

The 46-year-old from Bedford lost his dad during the second lockdown which he claims spurred him to encourage ethnic minorities to take the Covid jab.

He was made an OBE for services to the NHS, the Covid-19 response, and praised for his work, encouraging Brits to take the vaccine.

The 46-year-old from Bedford, who grew up on free school meals, hopes children who are growing up in poverty can see “it is not unrealistic” to make it.

“Through hard work and more Government intervention it is possible,” he told the Mirror.

Dr Raghib Ali has been awarded an OBE for services to the NHS and to the Covid-19 Response in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list ( PA)

Dr Ali became tearful describing his dad who died of lung complications in October 2020 after catching Covid.

“He always had high ambitions for his children. He would have been so shocked and amazed to see me get this honour.

“Growing up, there were days when we would not have food to eat.

“The chances of a child in my circumstances and getting a job let alone going to a top university like Cambridge were pretty much zero.

“Things still are not great for young people growing up in harsh circumstances

The doctor was praised for his work and services to the NHS
Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director at NHS England ( PA)

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“The key is education, and having role models really, so growing up, there weren’t always those role models available, it was very rare for children on free school meals to go to university, to become professionals, become doctors.”

Reflecting on the cost of living crisis he added: “The Government must do more to help children who have big dreams but are growing up in poor backgrounds.

“There are pockets of deprivation in every city across the country.

“It’s still very difficult for children from poor backgrounds to achieve their full potential. We can’t ignore that and we can’t ignore them.”

A Government spokeswoman said the number of people from a poorer socio-economic background had gone up in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Two of the most senior figures in the NHS have become a knight and a dame.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director since 2018 and a doctor for 25 years and Chief nursing officer Dr Ruth May, the lead for the nursing, midwifery and care professions in England became a nurse in 1985.

A 104-year-old dance teacher has spoken of her delight at being awarded a British Empire Medal in recognition of a lifetime of work dedicated to the arts.

Angela Redgrave has been the principal of the Bristol School of Dancing since 1970, having started dancing herself at the relatively late age of 10.

Her commitment and professionalism has previously been recognised with a lifetime achievement award by The Royal Academy of Dance.

Campaigner and journalist Alexis Bowater has been made an OBE after spending the past decade working to combat violence against women and girls.

Ms Bowater, who pushed for new stalking protection laws in the UK, has urged the public to have a conversation about tackling the issue, after she spent many years living in fear before a man was jailed for stalking her in 2009.

Eleven-year-old twins who raised £46,000 for charities are the youngest recipients in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in her Platinum Jubilee year.

Elena and Ruben Evans-Guillen, from Cheshire, were just six when they took on their first fundraising challenge, of running 100km in a year to raise money for a garden at the town’s hospital, where their mother, Mercedes Guillen Dominguez, works.

It comes as schools have been forced to swap hot meals for sandwiches amid the cost of living crisis.

School kids have even received smaller portions as teachers are left choosing between cheaper meals or axing staff.

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