A memorial garden to honour Councillor Abid Hussain, the former Lord Mayor of Bradford between 2017-18, who passed away at the age of 61 to Covid-19 on Christmas Eve in 2020, opened on Sunday.
The South Asian Garden opened at the glasshouse in Cliffe Castle Park in Keighley, over the weekend after eight months of development.
The garden which cost approximately £1500 was spearheaded by the Leader of Bradford Council, Susan Hinchcliffe, a dear friend, and colleague of Cllr Hussain, and funded by Bradford District Labour Group.
Cllr Hussain was born in Pakistan in 1959 and came with his family to the UK at the age of 12 in 1971, where he attended Greenhead Grammar School in Keighley.
As Lord Mayor, Cllr Hussain raised thousands of pounds for Down Syndrome Training and Support Services in Bingley and the Wishing Well. He spoke English, Urdu, and Punjabi and spent his free time playing sports, namely cricket, badminton, and table tennis.
Cllr Hussain had represented Keighley Central ward since 2010 and served on several council committees over the decade.
Family, friends, residents, and local councillors including Chair of Bradford District’s Economic Partnership Dr Manoj Joshi, Leader of the Council Susan Hinchcliffe and current Lord Mayor Shabir Hussain were at the opening of the memorial garden at Cliffe Castle Park, yesterday.
In the local elections last year, Cllr Hussain’s son, Mohsin Hussain, was elected as Keighley Central’s (Lab) councillor.
Cllr Mohsin Hussain said: “The South Asian Gardens was initiated by the Leader of the Council, Susan Hinchcliffe, and the Bradford Labour Group with the help of ward officers and the team at Cliffe Castle Park.
“We had a few options of where to place the park, but my father opened the Cliffe Castle Park glasshouse, where his memorial is today. When we were little, we used to hold events at Cliffe Castle, so the park was very close to my father and us.”
Cllr Hussain added: “I want to thank everyone involved; they have been amazing with us. Yesterday’s event was a brilliant morning, it is a great tribute to my dad, and it is something that he deserves as the man he was.
“My main aim is to unite the community in Keighley. It is time we unite as a community and promote cohesion and I think this garden will serve this purpose. I will be inviting all community groups and people of all faith backgrounds to come together and visit the garden.
“My father was not a man only for the Pakistani community, he was a man for everyone, he went to every single engagement and for this reason, I want to carry on his legacy.”
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “The new garden at Cliffe Castle is a fitting tribute to our dear friend and faithful servant of Keighley and the wider Bradford district, former Lord Mayor Cllr Abid Hussain. His home town meant so much to him.
“I know that it was a proud moment for him when he opened the restored glasshouse at Cliffe Castle during his time as Lord Mayor of Bradford district, so this living memorial is a particularly poignant and appropriate commemoration. On their visits to Cliffe Castle people of all ages from Keighley, across the district and beyond will get great enjoyment from this garden in our dear friend’s memory.”