Tributes have been paid to a respected community worker who died yesterday.

Abdul Hamid Piracha died aged 93 after an illness. He was buried today at Pleasington Cemetery following a funeral at the Noorul Islam Mosque, Blackburn.

Mr Piracha was the founder of the social housing provider Asiana Housing and was the first chairman of the Preston New Road based association.

He also served for many years on Blackburn’s public health board and the board of Together Housing.

Cllr Suleman Khonat told us, “He was a very nice man and will be missed by many people.

“He gave a lot of time to the community and was always available to pass on his experience to people and if ever there was an issue he was more than happy to help.

“It will also be a sad loss to the local Labour Party.”

Amrit Kaur told us, “I was very sad to hear of this news.

“I knew him for over 40 years. When we came to the country none of us could speak English and I remember going to classes back then. He was a very hard working and charming person who assisted all members of the community.”

Shakil Salam told us, “He was very active all his life and always valued education and health.

“He was a very passionate person and until his illness he was still involved with several community groups.

“I worked with him when he was chair of the Ethnic Minority Health and Social Care Forum. The group looked at the health and well-being of the community.

“He was really committed and was always there despite his age.”

Yusuf Jan-Virmani said, “He was never afraid of challenging people and the community was always at his heart.

“I first met him back in 1975. We came to the country in 1972. We were refugees to the country and I recollect speaking to him about housing issues.

“He wasn’t a councillor then but he was very supportive nonetheless.

“It is sad to lose such a gentleman of the community.”

Speaking to Asian Image back in 2007 on the 60th anniversary of the partition he described his days a student at the Muslim University of Alighar.