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> > > Heart n Soul celebrate double MBE awards to Pino Frumiento and Mark Williams
two men wearing suits and white shirts stand on stage and are smiling to the audience

Pino Frumiento [left] and Mark Williams [right] enjoy the applause and take a bow. © Jon Pratty/DAO

South London arts organisation Heart n Soul celebrated recent MBE awards to director Mark Williams and founder artist Pino Frumiento in the Queen's New Years Honours List on Wednesday 31 March.

Heart n Soul Now celebrated the MBE success at the Albany arts venue in Deptford, where the organisation has been based for 24 years.

Guest speakers on the night included Margaret Hodge MBE MP, Minister of Culture and Tourism; Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham and Tony Panayiotou, Director of Diversity at Arts Council England. Joan Ruddock, MP for Lewisham, Deptford was also present to enjoy the night's celebrations.

five people smile at the camera in group, all of them dressed in suits with the mayor in the centre of the group wearing his regalia

Joan Ruddock MP, Pino Frumiento MBE, Sir Steve Bullock, Margaret Hodge MP, MBE and Mark Williams, MBE, smile for the camera. © Jon Pratty/DAO

Representatives from leading arts organisations enjoying the evening included Jenny Sealey from Graeae and Steve Mannix from LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games).

200 invited guests were treated to the 'Music of Pino Show.' The show featured key Heart n Soul musicians including Lizzie Emeh performing a selection of songs from Pino's 24-year songwriting career. The music ranged from anthemic dance beats to reggae and funk.

Pino, who is 47, said: "It was a wonderful evening. I feel very proud that I've got this far and I've been able to do what I wanted in my life."

to the right of the photo a woman in a feathery purple dress is singing into a microphone and smiling

The fantastic Lizzie Emeh sings the songs of Pino Frumiento, seen on the big screen on the left singing backing vocals. © Jon Pratty/DAO

Margaret Hodge said: "I started my parliamentary career in the disability sector and in my current role I feel like I've come full circle. The work being done by organisations like Heart n Soul shows why Britain are world leaders in the arts."

Mark and Pino founded Heart n Soul in 1986. It is now one of the UK's leading arts organisations producing the work of artists with learning disabilities locally, nationally and internationally.

Heart n Soul is also the creator of The Beautiful Octopus Club, London's longest running multi-media club night. Created in 1995, the club is now a major event which showcases the best original art and culture created by people with learning disabilities and has inspired over fifty other clubs across the UK and Australia.

In 1999 Heart n Soul also set up The Squidz Club, a participatory club night for young people (14-25years) with learning disabilities.

See more pics from Heart n Soul's big night at the Albany in a Flickr slideshow of photos by Jon Pratty.