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Monday, June 27, 2022

Church community centre chairman honours Batley councillor through a painting

A Kirklees councillor has been thanked for her contributions to the local area and for being a wonderful friend through a painting by the chairman of the Trinity Centre in Batley Carr.

A councillor for Batley East (Lab) has been honoured by a church community centre for her outstanding contributions to local people and for being an outstanding friend.

William ‘Bill’ Thompson, 90, painted a portrait of Councillor Habiban Zaman to thank her for her work as a community worker, a councillor and a friend.

Cllr Zaman was presented with the painting on Friday at an arts and crafts exhibition at the Trinity Centre in Batley Carr, where Mr Thompson is the chairman.

Cllr Zaman and Mr Thompson have known each other for over thirty years, first meeting at a committee meeting at the local town hall in the 1990s.

Cllr Zaman was given a portrait by the chairman of Trinity Centre in Batley Carr.

Over the years, their friendship blossomed. Cllr Zaman joined the board of chairs at Trinity Centre to help raise money for the community organisation before she was elected as a councillor in 2017.

Cllr Zaman is also the community cohesion project officer for Kirklees Council, in addition to working as the chair of the West Yorkshire Pay and Employment Right Services in a volunteer capacity.

In 2014, she was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her contribution to women’s work across Kirklees and in West Yorkshire.

In 2015, she was given a British Community Honours Award for community cohesion work across Kirklees. Before retiring, Mr Thompson worked as an engineer in the local area.

Mr Thomson said: “Habiban is an incredibly good friend of mine. I’ve known her for over thirty years since she was about 17.

The community centre holds arts and crafts sessions every Friday.

“The first time I met her was when I was a committee at the town hall, and she was a secretary. She lives in Batley Carr and I live in Batley Carr. I am the chairman of The Trinity Centre and she joined us on the board one time before she was a councillor when she was a community worker.

“I thought the painting would be a lovely surprise for her. I painted it and thought if it came out nice, I would give it to her. Everyone who came around said it was Habiban, so I thought I must have gotten it right. It didn’t take me long to do, only about two or three sessions on a Friday morning.

“I framed it myself at home, in my former life I was an engineer by trade so I can do most things. Habiban has always been a good friend to me, she does a lot as a councillor and helps at the Trinity Centre from time to time.”

Cllr Zaman said: “Mr Thompson is the chairman of the Trinity Centre in Batley Carr and he has painted a portrait of me. He asked me to go down to the event and it was a lovely surprise.

“He unveiled a portrait of me. He said in his speech that it was ‘such an honour to have you as a councillor and a friend of the Batley area.’

“He must have come across a photograph of me from when I got the British Empire Medal (BME) because he said how in awe the community was that somebody from a grassroots level, from a disadvantaged background, had received the award.

“The volunteers at the event were all white, so for them to pluck me out and showcase me in that way was so beautiful.”

She added: “Mr Thompson has put in a lot of volunteer hours at the church. He said to me that he just wanted to share his appreciation of me through the painting and that it was something I could keep forever. It was such an emotional, touching, and moment.”

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