Tuesday marks the official Keighley Community Support award ceremony that honours and showcases the best of British Bangladeshis who have made huge contributions in their communities.
The awards are there to recognise the positive impact and groundbreaking achievements made by individuals that will serve to motivate other people in the British Bangladeshi community.
The event was put on by Councillor Ashraf Miah and Fulzar Ahmed. Mr Miah said: “The event went fantastic. It felt like it was something from London with it being a black-tie event. The event was invite-only and had over 100 of the best of the best in attendance.
Fourteen awards were given out to people from across Britain including the Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Councillor Habib Rahman, who was the first South Asian mayor of the city in its 800-year history as well as local people from Bradford and Keighley.
The ceremony was introduced by co-hosts Eyarun Nessa and Ash Alom with a welcome speech by Councillor and Keighley Town Mayor Julie Adam. Former MP of Keighley John Grogan appeared as a guest speaker as well as Sergeant Major Mark Hill MBE. Saniya Ahmed who was introduced as a young guest speaker also made a speech.
Representing the Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr Manoj Joshi Deputy Lieutenant and Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe presented Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE deputy leader of Manchester City Council with the first award of the night. Cllr Rahman OBE started his political career in May 2008 when he became the first person of Bengali origin to be elected as a councillor on Manchester City Council and in 2011, was given the ‘Community Champion of the Year award’ at the Local Government Information Unit.
Cllr Rahman OBE said: “I have been really humbled and privileged to be considered among the list of very distinguished individuals who have achieved so much, with some of them, most of them actually, being incredible role models for me.
“I look up to them, I’ve got lots to learn from them and hopefully during my course of service to the community of Manchester, I will be meeting many of you over and over again, being able to learn from you regularly.”
Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “It is wonderful what you have achieved so far, and it sounds like you are going further still, I wish you all the best in that. It is an honour to present this award with Dr Manoj Joshi to provide you with this award this evening.”
After a sit-down dinner kindly provided by supporters of the event and entertainment from Sanjoy Dey and Bollywood dancing, awards for commitment and support were handed out to business sponsors.
Business sponsors included Abdul Kuddus director of Aire Valley Frozen Foods, Saleh Ahmed from restaurant and takeaway Bollywood Cottage, Fatima Patel, editor and managing director of Asian Standard newspaper, Ala Uddin owner of Mastab’s restaurant, Abdul Motlib Choudhury of restaurant Sylhet Brasserie, Imamul Hoque of Huddersfield restaurant Raj Of India, Ansar Ali owner of travel agents AA travels, Nazrul Islam, Rahim Ali of Ababil Hospitality, Rozi’s, a tandoori house in Prestatyn, Anwar Miah of Menston Spice and Lukman Hussain, of West Lane MOT centre.
Our Editor Fatima Patel, was also a guest speaker at the event. She said: It’s great to see so many achievers in one room from the Bangladeshi community. Well, done to Keighley Community Support for celebrating the achievements of people of Bangladeshi heritage from across the country. Asian Standard are extremely proud to be sponsoring such events that platform and highlight positive contributions from the diaspora.”
Other guest speakers at the event included Bradford community leader Shaukat Ahmed OBE known affectionately as “Mr Manningham” for his work as an engineer, entrepreneur, politician, and senior project manager at Leeds City Council, and Conservative MP for Keighley who has been in office since 2019, Robbie Moore.
Two sets of awards were given out during the ceremony, recognising people nationally and locally. Four people from across Bradford and Keighley were awarded for their dedication to the community.
One of the local recipients was Eyarun Nessa, who has worked in the community for several years and developed projects to tackle social and health inequality and steering positive changes. She has previously worked in legal, mental health, banking, social and welfare, faith and education sectors.
Prominent community activist Azad Uddin was also recognised for his work. He has been involved with many voluntary and charitable organisations including Greater Sylhet Development and Welfare Council in the UK. Mr Uddin is also a successful businessman in the catering industry in Wales.
Councillor Ashraf Miah was given an award at the ceremony for his work as the first British Bangladeshi Councillor for Bingley Council who also serves as the vice-chair of finance and general purposes committee. Mr Miah has been involved in the field of youth and community development for the past thirty years serving the people of Keighley and Bradford.
Former Keighley Town Mayor between 2018 and 2019, Fulzar Ahmed became the first British Bangladeshi mayor to be elected in Yorkshire. He has spent the last decade and beyond championing the needs of his communities and has made a significant difference in encouraging a generation to play an active role in the community and take on public service roles. In February 2019, he successfully led a delegation team to Bangladesh, visiting the Rohingya camps to provide aid.
Restauranteur Sufu Miah, Humayun Islam, and Nilima Rahman were all recognised for their recent British Empire Medal (BEM) awards that were given to them on behalf of the Queen for their services in their respective communities.
Mr Islam BEM who has worked in a number of different fields ranging from mental health, supporting accommodation, male domestic abuse and working as the chief executive of BEAP Community said: “It has been a wonderful event provided by Keighley Community Support. A massive thank you to the organisers who have not only brought the Keighley community together but the whole community together. Thank you for the opportunity to be here and I am ever so grateful to everyone who has supported me with my work at BEAP.”
British Bangladeshi council members and MPs were also recognised for their contribution to society with Muzahid Khan, Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Greater Manchester given an award, alongside Councillor Ali Ahmed, Deputy Mayor of Rochdale Borough Council, Councillor Abdul Khan, chairman of Conwy Borough Council (Wales), Foysol Choudhury MBE Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Lothian, and Councillor Habib Rahman, the Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of Newcastle Upon Tyne.
The award ceremony was in special memory of the late former Lord Mayor Councillor Abid Hussain Jammati who was Labour councillor for Keighley Central and Lord Mayor of Bradford in 2017-18. Mr Hussain Jammati was 61 when he died due to the Coronavirus on Christmas Eve last year. Mr Hussain was born in Pakistan in 1959 and came with his family to the UK in 1971, aged 12. During his time as Lord Mayor, he raised thousands of pounds for charity.