Community campaigner given Leeds Award accolade

Arthur France MBE is presented with a Leeds Award.
Arthur France MBE is presented with a Leeds Award.
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A tireless community campaigner who has devoted nearly 60 years of life to his adopted home of Leeds has been given a top civic honour.

Arthur France MBE - the founder of Leeds Carnival - was last night presented with a Leeds Award by the Lord Mayor, Coun David Congreve.

The award recognises the work of individuals or organisations that bring great credit to the city through their exceptional hard work and dedication.

Mr France, who was originally born on the Caribbean island of Nevis and moved to Leeds with his sister in 1957, has gone on to make an outstanding contribution to the city - in particular the West Indian community.

In 1967 he founded the Leeds Carnival, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2017 and is now Europe’s longest-running authentic Caribbean carnival.

He has also created educational opportunities for young people and communities in Leeds and in 1973 he was a member of a steering group which set up Chapeltown Community Centre, helping with the creation of a learning and computer school.

In 1985 was named chairman of the Leeds West Indian Centre - a post he still holds today.

He told the YEP: “I feel proud and honoured to be awarded the Leeds Award. I was overwhelmed when I heard.”

Lord Mayor Coun David Congreve said: “There is no doubt that the achievements of Arthur France MBE makes him more than a worthy recipient of this civic accolade.

“His energy and enthusiasm even after nearly 60 years of work to help and improve the lives of others is still unbelievable, and that is without mentioning the founding role he played in the creation of the Leeds Carnival which is now recognised and rightly loved right around the world.”