West Nottinghamshire College principal is made a dame

Dame Asha Khemka is made a Dame Commander by the Prince of Wales during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in central London Image copyright PA
Image caption Asha Khemka was made a Dame by the Prince of Wales during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace

A Nottinghamshire college principal has become the first India-born woman to be made a dame for more than 80 years.

Asha Khemka, of West Nottinghamshire College, in Mansfield, was presented with the honour for her services to education from the Prince of Wales at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Dame Asha, from Rangemore, Burton upon Trent, led a £40m redevelopment project of the college's campuses.

She was appointed an OBE in 2008 and has run the college since 2006.

Dame Asha, who was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the New Year Honours List, said she was "proud and honoured" to be awarded the honour.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Dame Asha said she was "proud and honoured" to be awarded DBE for her services in education

"This is without doubt one of the proudest moments of my life," she said.

"I feel I now have a new responsibility on my shoulders - a responsibility to use this title to make an even greater impact on the further education sector and to the communities of Mansfield and Ashfield.

"I will strive every day to prove that I am worthy of this honour."

The last time an India-born woman was given the honour was Maharani Lakshmi Devi Bai Sahiba of Dhar State in 1931.

Nevil Croston, the college's chair of governors, said: "Under her leadership, the college has built a national reputation for the work it does with employers and placing young people into jobs.

"She has led projects which have resulted in the college providing world-class facilities for its students."

Dame Asha, born in the small town of Sitamarhi, in Bihar, India, came to the UK with her husband and three children in 1978 and has lived in Rangemore for the last 15 years.

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