Being the Mayoress was a wonderful experience. I think it was amazing because I met all communities this way…
Mainly, my life has been all about working as a volunteer. My husband was working in all these voluntary roles, so I was involved and I was helping him. Then we made an association, Pakistan Women’s Association in 1977 because we thought we need to have a forum where we could all be together and get out of our houses and have a bit of freedom from children! And also, get together and feel less isolated. In the ’60s we were amongst the first Pakistanis to come to Burnley, we were only two, three families at that time. I was elected as the chairperson. Since then we’ve been working. We’ve been working for charities as well. All the fundraising we did from different functions like the Eid Party or Pakistan Day, we gave to different charities and especially to the Mayor’s charity fund.
For over 30 years we’ve always helped the people, all the people, because my husband was a councillor, and all the English and Asian community came to get help from him. It’s like helping your own town, isn’t it? It’s Burnley and whoever makes up Burnley, we want to help them all and that’s why the Mayoral charity was a key way to make a contribution. I was already working to help the ladies when somebody needed to go to hospital, interpretation and schools or social services, and so on. I did interpretation for other ladies that had come from Pakistan.
Being the Mayoress was a wonderful experience. I think it was amazing because I met all communities this way and I worked a lot for the Mayor’s charity as well. We did a lot of fundraising and we still do through the Association which is a voluntary organisation.
My husband and I were invited to the Queen’s Garden Party a few times. The first time we went to the Queen’s Garden Party, but then we had dinner with Princess Anne in the Hilton Hotel and honestly that was a wonderful experience. There were so many memories to tell you the truth, every day we had amazing experiences.