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International Widows Conference at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Eleanor Nwadinobi from Widows Development Organisation (WiDO) speaking at the Conference. Delegates include Cherie Booth QC, Shamin Lalji and Yoko Ono.
Eleanor Nwadinobi from Widows Development Organisation (WiDO) speaking at the Conference. Delegates include Cherie Booth QC, Shamin Lalji and Yoko Ono.

A Major International Widows Conference was held in the Locarno Suite at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 23 June 2006. The purpose of the conference was to raise international awareness and provide individuals, corporations, governments and NGOs with a platform to address issues affecting widowhood, such as poverty and deprivation, social stigma, legal discrimination, and the impact of HIV / AIDS.

HRH The Prince of Wales was Patron in Chief of the Conference, which was Chaired by Loomba Foundation President, Cherie Booth QC. Alastair Stewart acted as Master of Ceremonies and speakers included: Yoko Ono; the Rt Hon Baroness Amos; Baroness Jay of Paddington; H.E. the Rt Hon Donald McKinnon, Commonwealth Secretary-General; Rt Hon Lord Dholakia, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords; Mrs Renuka Chowdhury, Hon Minister for Women and Child Development, Government of India; a number of speakers from overseas organisations dedicated to alleviating the suffering of widows and orphans in the developing world.

The Loomba Foundation Bollywood Concert in Trafalgar Square

The conference was followed by a live open air Bollywood concert in Trafalgar Square, attended by 300 hundred VIP guests and thousands of members of the public.

Shekhar Suman, known as the Indian Jay Leno or ‘Mr Television’, hosted the afternoon’s entertainment. The line-up included performances by 4×4 Bhangra Group, the renowned pioneers of Freestyle Bhangra dance; Kashmira Shah; Sophia, Sunidhi Chauhan and Bhangra icon Jazzy B, who sang tracks from his chart topping albums.

Video messages from Hillary Clinton and Sir Richard Branson were broadcast during the concert and, as the finale, Cherie Booth QC released balloons to mark International Widows Day.

Media coverage
Media coverage included an interview with Cherie Booth QC and Yoko Ono conducted by Kay Burley of Sky, which ran on Sky News throughout the afternoon of 23 June. An interview between Cherie Booth QC and Ronke Phillips of ITV was also broadcast on London Tonight that evening.

Other media that reported on International Widows Day included: BBC News, Channel Five, Press Association, The Sun, The Daily Express, The Mirror, The Evening Standard, Press Association, AFP, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, Asian Voice, icBirmingham.co.uk, Community Newswire, PR inside, FemaleFirst.co.uk, Century 105 FM and The Pulse.

Jackie Schroff (Actor), Cherie Booth QC (President, the Loomba Trust), Yoko One (Artist),
L-R Barry Humphreys (Virgin Atlantic), Alastair Stewart (Master of Ceremony), Yoko Ono (Artist),

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