Veteran Heckmondwike fundraiser honoured at the Palace of Westminster

A fundraiser from Heckmondwike has been recognised at the Palace of Westminster with the prestigious British Citizen Award in recognition of his extraordinary endeavours.

By Jessica Barton
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 4:30 pm
Mohammed Shakeel Faraz received the British Citizen Award on March 24 for his services to the community.
Mohammed Shakeel Faraz received the British Citizen Award on March 24 for his services to the community.

The British Citizen Award (BCA), in partnership with One Stop, is now in its eighth year and recognises exceptional individuals who positively impact their communities throughout the country.

Unfortunately, the January 2022 presentation was postponed due to Government guidelines, but Mohammed Shakeel Faraz finally received his honour on March 24 for his services to the community.

Mohammed was presented with his medal of honour by Tom Redman, the general manager from sponsors Big Bus London.

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Mohammed, a local entrepreneur and philanthropist, has always believed in giving back to his community and through his projects he aims to make the world a better place for generations to come.

Mohammed said: “It doesn’t matter what gender, colour of skin, age, religion or belief people have, at the end of the day we all bleed the same – no one is superior over anyone else, we’re all equal human beings in this world and we should all be living in peace.

“It is a great honour for me to receive this special recognition and be able to bring this certificate of honour back to my hometown of Heckmondwike.

“I want to thank everyone who nominated me and I would also like to take this opportunity to say that The Magic Wishing Well Charity is not a one man team, it is a team made up of trustees, hundreds of volunteers and project managers.

“Due to this we are able to fulfil the needs of thousands of individuals in our community each year.”

Mohammed grew up in Heckmondwike and has seen his family struggle financially from a young age. This drove him to want to change his path and push himself to become a successful entrepreneur.

He knew that when success came, he would use it to help others.

Over the last five years, Mohammed has been passionate about helping the community. One of the first projects was the “Free Food Parcels”, which were originally self-funded.

He soon realised the magnitude of the need and how this was not sustainable, so started fundraising with his team undertaking activities including charity car washes, barbecues and auctions.

The team has to date raised almost £1million for various projects.

After seeing how many people were affected and in need during the pandemic, in particular the homeless, he also decided to run a hot meal plan every Sunday, which meant those in need came along for something to eat but also got to share their issues and see how they could be helped

Every year Mohammed delivers hundreds of Christmas presents to children’s wards throughout West Yorkshire, as well as making some wishes come true for the terminally ill.

He also opened The Magic Wishing Well Boxing Academy in February 2022, which is a fully accredited, fully funded state-of-the-art facility.

The gym offers sponsorship opportunities for up and coming young boxers as well as rehabilitation opportunities for young offenders within the local community, allowing free access to equipment and classes in a community safe zone.

Jonny McQuarrie, from BCA partner One Stop, said: “This year’s medallists have reminded us of how many amazing people are supporting our communities, especially during such a challenging time.

“Our congratulations go to all honourees.”

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