A cabbie has spoken of his pride after his eldest child qualified as a doctor - one of three children who came to the UK speaking no English.

Hafeez Buttar and wife Yasmin celebrated the graduation of Hamid, aged 24 from Brighton University. And soon to follow in his footsteps will be Salman, aged 21 and Hania aged 20 who are presently studying Medicine at Cardiff University.

All three students passed with straight A’s whilst at Beardwood High School, Blackburn and then went on to receive top marks at A-levels. All three children could not speak any English when they came to the UK with their parents in 2001.

Dad Hafeez recollects, “I remember Hamid coming home from school aged 6 back then and asking me ‘Who taught these small kids English?’.”

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Hafeez Buttar and Yasmin with Hamid and daughter Hania

The cabbie who hails from Firozwala, near Lahore told us it was not easy for his children and his wife settling in the UK.

The children came to the UK aged 6, 4 and 2 and settled in the Audley area of Blackburn.

Mr Buttar said, “In many ways we were living hand to mouth for a long time.

“A lot of the credit must go to their mother who put a lot of effort into their education despite our circumstances at the time.

“She was a teacher back in Pakistan and provided a solid foundation for the children.

“I was hoping that all three children would go into medicine and they have done so which makes us both proud. In our whole family and our forefathers no-one was as educated as these three.

“I had a Masters degree in Pakistan.

“As a taxi-driver it was a very hard as I then saved quite of lot to ensure the boys went to Queen Elizabeth Grammar School.

“At that time you had to pay for the sixth form at that school.

“Hania went to St Mary’s College after secondary school.”

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Salman is studying at Cardiff University

Both parents did not speak English as their first language. 

“When I came here I had to enrol on English Language classes myself. I got told that the easiest way to learn English was to speak the language at home with my kids.

“I told him what if my children forget their own language. He replied…if you were so worried then about that you would not have come to this country!.”

Hamid will be starting work in Cardiff as a doctor in July. He said he wasn’t put under too much pressure. “Our parents were very much encouraging more than anything else.

“I do remember getting rewards, however big or small they were for getting good marks.”

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Mr Buttar said, “I didn’t give them a mobile phone until they were eighteen. There was no need in my opinion as I thought it would affect their studies.

“One day Hamid was in Year 8 and he came home saying he wanted a mobile phone as all his friends had one.
“I told him it's entirely up to you…you can spoil yourself or achieve something. Thankfully he listened.

“I do advise people that if you are successful in the upbringing of your eldest child then it is much easier for the others to follow the example.”