A 92-year-old who lived through the partition of India and has performed religious ceremonies across the North West was among those honoured at the Fusion Awards.

Madhusudan Dave was also involved in anti-British demonstrations as a teenager in India.

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Madhusudan Dave (centre) is congratulated at the awards

Mr Dave was presented with the award by Labour’s Kate Hollern and the Conservative's Andrew Stephenson before a packed King George’s Hall, Blackburn, on Saturday.

Born in 1924 and originally from Mombasa, Kenya, Mr Dave came to the UK in 1973 and since then has officiated hundreds of religious rituals in temples in the region.

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His earlier life helped to define Mr Dave who was a college student living in Ahmadabad during the Second World War.

In 1942 he recollects being beaten and arrested by the British army after he joined demonstrations to support the efforts of Mahatma Gandhi, someone he also heard speaking at a gathering.

Speaking on stage he said: “I am honoured to receive this award. I would like to thank the Fusion Awards and the communities in the North West, especially the Gujarat Hindu Society in Preston and the Blackburn Hindu Centre and my friends and family who have supported me for the last 44 years. Thank you and God bless everyone.”

This year the ceremony honoured charitable projects that have assisted people across the world as well as locally.

It also highlighted the work of young people and organisations who are helping to dispel myths about their community and improve their neighbourhoods.
As well as East Lancashire, winners hailed from Preston, Oldham and Manchester this year.

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The East Lancashire Deaf Society was named the Community Group of the Year.
Speaking on stage through a translator, director of the ELDS, Doug Alker said,said, "The East Lancashire Deaf Society appreciates the Asian community and their integration within communities.

"We have issues within the deaf community as well, to integrate in the wider community. Gaining this award proves that we are successful and we appreciate what we have learned from each other.”

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The Blackburn United Girls Football team picked up the BAE Systems Youth Leadership award. Accepting the award, a team member said, "We would like to thank everyone for recognising us as young leaders.

"The club has given us the opportunity to further ourselves as coaches, referees, young leaders and ambassadors for young Muslim girls in sports. 

"We are setting new boundaries in Muslim communities to allow young Muslim women like ourselves to experience sport and progress further in what still is a man's world."

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Marzia Babakarkhail was named Woman of the Year. She said,  "I arrived in this country with no English. I always found good people around me.
“I want to continue to fight for justice and for women's rights for the rest of my life."

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The 'Blind Journalist’ Mohammed Patel who was honoured with the Man of the Year award said, “I am extremely happy and humbled to be the Fusion Awards Man of the Year for 2017.

"I want to thank many people including my dad.

“Keep doing what you like doing and you'll break barriers and achieve what you want to." 

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Blackburn’s Dr Rehana Master was the H&S Living Public Service Award 2017 winner. She said on stage: “Having looked at the calibre of the nominees I did not expect to be stood here and I think all of us should be really proud of our achievements tonight.”

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Akil Desai, was named Entrepreneur of the Year. From one small shop in Blackburn, Jubbas.com has escalated into an international success with customers in the USA, Australia and Singapore.

Two factories in India and Indonesia now manufacture the company’s brands Al-Imaan by Jubbas and Al-Noor producing 25,000 items in eighteen different styles.
Akil said: “I would like to thank my parents because without them we would not be where we are today. It was their dream and we have carried it forward.”

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The Achievement in Sport award was won by double Taekwondo champion Pooja Vadhva who is aiming to make an impact at the 2020 Olympics.

She said, "It is great to win this award as there are not many British Asian women in this sport at international level. I would like to thank my coaches for their continuing support and my mum for putting up with me!

"I want to keep working hard and training hard on the road to Tokyo and inspire as many people as I can."

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The Community Sports Award went to Abdul Basit of Oldham who said, "I am truly overwhelmed by receiving this award and would like to thank Fusion firstly on holding such a prestigious event and secondly for recognising me for this award. It really does mean a lot after 20 plus years of voluntary community coaching. Hopefully I can carry on further for a number of years."

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Youth volunteer Vishal Karri was presented the UCLan Education Achievement Award.

He said, "I want to say thanks to my mum for always dropping me off to all the places and well done to everyone here today. You've all done something good."

He was presented the award by Lynne Livesey, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic)

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The Faith Network 4 Manchester Group picked up the Community Cohesion Award 2017. 

Vice Chair of FN4M Qaisra Shahraz said, “We are so happy to have won this award. But I am happier that this event has brought so many communities and so many religions together and it is celebrating the work that they do. Thank you for honouring the work that we do.

"We promote community cohesion, respect, tolerance and connecting different faith communities."

Fusion 2017

Public Service Award
Dr Rehana MAster

UCLan Education Achievement Award
Presented by Lynne Livesey, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic)
Vishal Karri

Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Akil Desai (Jubbas.com)

BAE Systems Youth Leadership Award presented by Emma Cornwall, Head of Manufacturing Capability
Blackburn United Girls Football Team

Penny Appeal Community Group of the Year
East Lancashire Deaf Society

Mumtaz Ellahi Community Sports Award
Abdul Basit

Achievement in Sport Award
Pooja Vadhva

AMT Lawyers Woman of the Year Award
Marzia Babakarkhail

ClearTwo Man of the Year
Mohammed Patel

Blackburn with Darwen Council Community Cohesion Award
Faith Network 4 Manchester

Community Achievement Award
Madhusudan Dave