PwC colleagues to take part in Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay as Batonbearers

09 June 2022

PwC UK has nominated ten incredible individuals to be official Batonbearers in the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay. Ten colleagues have now been selected in recognition of the work in their communities, and will take on the honourable role this summer during the build up to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. 

Find out more about the Batonbearers, nominated by PwC, and when they will be taking part: 

Riyaz Husein Dhalla – 5th June – London Over the Covid-19 lockdown, Riyaz set up a charity called HoH Charitable Trust. In the last 24 months, they have distributed over 7,000 essential packs to the homeless across London, the South East and Birmingham. They also provided 1,500 back to school packs for underprivileged children and responded to the Afghan evacuee crisis, assisting with the resettlement and rehabilitation of children and vulnerable adults. They now have over 200 volunteers to help support their work.

Pippa Tilney – 5th July – South West Pippa is Birmingham born and bred. For the last 31 years, she has dedicated her life to fitness as a group exercise instructor. Pippa has helped hundreds of people hit their targets, whether recovering from illness and injury or just wanting to make mental or physical improvements. 

Avni Mashru – 6th July – South East As a ColourBrave Advocate for her PwC business unit, Avni transformed the unit’s focus on diversity and inclusion issues and implemented mutual mentoring. She openly shares her story on seeking to adopt from India as single parent, her challenges with fertility, early menopause and her belief that you can do anything you set your mind to. 

Jemma Wood – 6th July – South East Jemma has Cystic Fibrosis and has spent 740 days of her life in hospital, 530 days devoted to nebulisers/physio and takes 720 tablets per month. Despite this, Jemma has achieved honorary life membership to the University of London gymnastics team, featured in the ‘30 under 30’ list for Rising Stars of the City for supporting people with disabilities in the workplace and raised over £300,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. 

Heather Eastlake – 9th July – East of England Heather graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2017. After co-founding the University’s Powerlifting Society, she went on to win both English and British titles, and set a drug-free British deadlift record. While working at PwC, she has taken on the roles of Mental Health Champion for Cambridge and South East, and Vice-Chair of Finance & Resources as a co-opted school governor. Both roles are important to her, having previously struggled with mental health to the point of attempting suicide, and being educated at a school struggling for funding which was featured in the BBC 4 documentary “School” (2018).

Sarah King – 15th July – North East Sarah regularly applies herself to sporting events to raise money for charity, such as the Dubai Marathon for Help for Heroes, the London Marathon for Muscular Dystrophy and organising a PwC charity walk, completing 96 miles of the West Highland Way for CHAS. In total to date, Sarah’s charity work has raised over £7,000. She is the micro/mini convenor for Kilmarnock Rugby Club, organising fixtures and training for children aged 5-11 in her local community.

Angela Conway – 15th July – North East Angela runs a support group for The Brain Tumour Charity with a friend, after they were both diagnosed with a brain tumour. They aim to raise funds and awareness to help those diagnosed with a brain tumour. 

Jason Warner – 16th July – North West Jason has championed campaigns for several charities, such as hosting and curating an annual fundraiser for MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation, fundraising for the LGBT Foundation, George House Trust and Forever Manchester. Manchester Evening News named him as one of Manchester’s most influential ‘changemakers and unsung heroes’. The LGBT Foundation accredited him as a “Pioneer of Colour” during Black History Month. For the past 2 years, Jason has been invited to support Pride of Britain in an official capacity as a judge for their regional Pride of Manchester Awards event. He has also contributed a chapter in a mental health number one best-selling book: “Body Happy Kids” by Molly Forbes.

Philippa Donnelly – 20th July – West Midlands Following a diagnosis of MS in her twenties, Philippa has been determined to show that it is possible to live well with MS. Not only does she sit on the Northern Irish Council for the MS Society, helping the charity make a difference within her community, she also ran over 100km in November 2021 to raise money for this important cause.

Jacob Balchin – 22nd July – West Midlands In his spare time, Jacob supports a local community space with its treasury needs. During the pandemic, the centre was forced to close and they were unable to generate income from lettings or gather donations. At the same time, structural issues requiring immediate repair were identified. With the space low on funds, Jacob researched and applied to various grant bodies offering COVID relief funds. Over six months of applications, he raised £25,000, covering all repair work whilst keeping the building open for the community. The space is used for guides, karate, adult fitness classes and pensioner luncheons.

Matt Hammond, Midlands Region Leader & Birmingham Senior Partner at PwC UK, said: “We’re delighted for our ten confirmed Batonbearers who will have the chance to inspire a generation and each be a part of sporting history ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. 

“All the Batonbearers are fantastic examples of inspiring stories and making a positive impact – from working with charities, to using their time to upskill community organisations and supporting schools. We’re all looking forward to cheering them on.”