An award in memory of one of the region’s leading entrepreneurs and philanthropists has been created, which recognises the outstanding achievements of those who are dedicated to achieving community cohesion and equality in the North East.
Nas Khan arrived in Britain from Pakistan at the age of 14 unable to speak English, but worked his way up through Jennings Motor Group before becoming its owner in 2005, overseeing its development into of the region’s most successful businesses.
As well as his business achievements, Nas was known for his commitment to charities and the North East community, and also established his own Emaan Foundation, which was dedicated to building a village in Pakistan for a community devastated by earthquakes in 1999 and floods in 2010.
Nas, awarded an OBE in recognition of his business and community work, sadly passed away in 2018 aged 58.
Now, the Dr Nas Khan OBE Award has been established as part of the Asian Business Connexions (ABC) Awards, which acknowledges the outstanding efforts of those who are dedicated to supporting their own communities.
The ABC Awards, now in their 11th year, showcase and reward the dedication and vast contribution of the Asian community in the health, economic and social wellbeing of the North East.
Shuley Alam has been named as winner of the inaugural Dr Nas Khan OBE Award, in recognition of her work as founder and CEO of Compact in Race Equality in South Tyneside (CREST), until her death in July at the age of 46 after a long battle with cancer.
After a career in the civil service, Shuley founded CREST in 2004 to address systematic racism and to help BAME groups integrate into society through a range of different projects.
In the 16 years since its formation, CREST has attracted widespread praise for the positive impact it has had on disadvantaged BAME communities and racial equality in the area.
Sohail Khan, son of Nas Khan, said: “I am honoured that my father’s work and dedication has been remembered through the creation of the Dr Nas Khan OBE Award. As a community champion and an advocate of equality, tolerance and cohesion, I know he would be so pleased that the outstanding efforts of others are being rewarded in his name.”
Ammar Mirza CBE, chairman and founder of Asian Business Connexions, said: “Nas was a fantastic man who was loved and respected in equal measure for the huge contribution he made to the North East community. By creating this award in his memory, we are ensuring that outstanding efforts and commitment to achieving fundamental values will always be associated with the work of Nas Khan.
“There could be no better winner than Shuley Alam, who dedicated her life to promoting equality and tolerance in her community. Even while battling cancer she remained absolutely committed to the cause, rooting out prejudice, tackling disadvantage and creating a community which is all the better for having Shuley as part of it. She will be hugely missed, but always remembered. We are delighted to name her as the winner of the first-ever Dr Nas Khan OBE Award.”