Council supports Hillingdon's rising stars in honour of Tashan Daniel
Tuesday 7 November 2023: Hillingdon Council's Tashan Daniel Award initiative continues to nurture the ambitions of talented young people in Hillingdon by helping successful recipients to advance their sporting and cultural pursuits.
The bursary, which was launched in 2020 in memory of Tashan Daniel who was tragically killed in an unprovoked attack at Hillingdon Underground station in 2019, has now supported 24 young people in Hillingdon by providing grants of up to £2,000.
Tashan was a keen photographer, footballer and athlete who dreamt of becoming an Olympic sprinter. His family wanted to ensure that Tashan would be an inspiration to other local young people, and worked with the council to launch the Tashan Daniel Award to help others pursue their ambitions.
The scheme is open to borough residents up to age 21 and funding can be used to pay for sports equipment and competitions, gain qualifications in art and culture, and enrol on vocational courses.
This year's recipients were chosen by a judging panel, including Tashan's father, Chandy Daniel; his sister, Oceanna; Cllr Jane Palmer, Hillingdon Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care; and Priscilla Simpson, the council's Sport and Physical Activity Manager.
Arjun began practising Taekwondo at the age of 10 and is aiming to reach the top of his sport. The double black belt's talent has won him a place in the British Taekwondo south region poomsae (non-contact patterns) squad. He plans to apply next year to join the national Talent Draft scheme, which allows athletes to prepare for the Olympic pathway.
Arjun also recently completed a referee course and is studying to qualify as an assistant coach. He said: "I am really delighted and honoured to be a recipient of the Tashan Daniel Award. Tashan's sudden death was tragic, and it had an impact on a lot of people in the community.
"I am grateful that I can, in some small way, help to keep his memory alive through my Taekwondo journey and this award. Thank you to Hillingdon Council and the Daniel family.
"The funding will really help me to be able to compete in more tournaments and ensure I can continue my elite squad training long-term."
Zara has a passion for musical theatre and has landed several roles in productions, both at her drama club, Future Stars, in Northwood, and her school. She has performed in a Bright Stars dance ensemble at the Royal Albert Hall and sang in school choirs at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square.
She is currently preparing for her Grade 3 exams from the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music. Zara's dream is to one day perform the lead role of Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera.
However, due to recent serious illness in her family she has had to step back from many drama and sports activities and has struggled to continue her singing lessons.
But both Zara and her mum say that receiving the council's Tashan Daniel Award has been a turning point, giving Zara the motivation and desire to continue with her singing.
Zara's parents, Imran and Seema, said the support has given her the opportunity to further develop her own creative talents, along with her ability to act as a mentor to younger children.
Zara said: "I am extremely grateful for this award because it will enable me to continue to build my skills in dramatic arts.
"I hope to honour Tashan's legacy by excelling in my field, not only to perform on stage but also to use this skill as a drama therapist to support children through challenging times."
Cllr Palmer said: "We're so pleased to have been able to support the dreams of two more outstanding young people in our borough in memory of Tashan.
"We wish them the very best in their future endeavours and are sure they will do themselves and Tashan's family proud."
Applications for the next round of funding opens in June 2024. For more information on the award, visit www.hillingdon.gov.uk/tashan-daniel-award