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A man who has dedicated more than 20 years to bringing Warrington communities together, after arriving in the town from India, has received a special accolade.
Hasan Kazi has received the award of Honorary Citizen of Warrington, which is given to people who are not born and raised in the borough of Warrington but whose actions mark them out as having made a particular contribution to the town.
He was awarded the honour at an extraordinary meeting of the council on Monday 4 April, following a nomination from Great Sankey South Councillor, Mo Hussain, seconded by cabinet member for leisure and community, Cllr Tony Higgins.
Hasan was born on 20 June 1937 into a large family with four brothers and five sisters in the village of Tadkod, located in the district of Dharwad in South Karnataka, India.
Following his primary education, he attended Basel Mission High School in Dharwad, earning a diploma in surgical medicine at Karnataka Medical College and finally a certificate in psychiatry from the All India Institute of Mental Health in Bangalore.
Moving to Warrington in 2000, Hasan has spent the past two decades serving the local community with passion and dedication. He has served on a wide range of organisations, including:
An important contribution made by Hasan is his key role in the creation of events such as the annual MELA festival, which brings together all communities, with entertainment, activities and food, celebrating and raising awareness of many cultures and traditions. The event has become a key event in Warrington’s cultural calendar, and has expanded to become a national event, drawing participants from Blackburn, London, Birmingham, Bolton and elsewhere.
As a founding member of the Council of Faiths, Hasan has been very active in many faith communities. He has represented his faith of Islam by developing places of prayer at St Rocco’s Hospice and the former Winwick Hospital as well as conducting the opening ceremony of a ‘quiet place’ in Golden Square Shopping Centre where individuals can pray, meditate, or simply get away for a moment of silence.
Hasan has also attended numerous citizenship ceremonies as a faith representative and as the Chair of WECA, and is a regular attendee at Warrington’s annual Remembrance Day event.
As part of his work to bring together different communities, Hasan has spoken on a number of occasions at Hindu Temples and Sikh Gurdwara, as well as Christian Churches.
Mayor of Warrington, Cllr Maureen Creaghan, said: “Hasan Kazi is an outstanding community and faith leader, who has contributed so much to local people for many years. His tireless dedication to bring people together – guided by his strong Muslim Faith – has made a difference to so many lives, particularly vulnerable and less fortunate people.
“We are very thankful for all the work Hasan has done to benefit Warrington’s communities over the past 20 years and we are proud to bestow upon him the richly-deserved award of Honorary Citizen of Warrington.”
Cllr Tony Higgins, cabinet member for leisure and community, said: “Hasan has given so much to our borough over the years and has led the way in bringing people of many different faiths and backgrounds together.
“His tireless work has brought huge benefits to many, many people, from helping to give our minority communities a voice, to supporting refugees and newcomers to integrate into life in our town. His work through WECA and the Council of Faiths, along with his instrumental role in the creation of the MELA festival, have left a lasting legacy of cultural and religious unity and understanding.
“We are delighted and honoured to have bestowed the accolade of Honorary Citizen on Hasan, a true community hero.”