Bolton’s Chandrakant Parmar better known to many as Chan Parmar was honoured with the Lifetime Community Achievement Award at Fusion 2019.

The Fusion Awards were held on Saturday July 6 at King George’s Hall, Blackburn.

Chan has worked in many roles but is best known for his role as a Strategic Officer with the Bolton Interfaith Council.

It is a role from which he retired this year yet aged 70 he still finds time to volunteer with community groups in his home town. He was elected as Chair for Asian Elders Resource Centre.

He said his journey had always been one where he wanted to create more understanding between cultures, “We have a shared vision where we all live in peace and harmony and build trust.”

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Chan was born in Nairobi, Kenya, because of the Mau Mau troubles of the 1960s there, his father sent him and other family members to live in India.

From there at the age of 18, his father sent him and his sister to England, to live with his uncle in Bolton. He studied at Bolton College before working in the textile industry.

He went on to work at the Gas Board for 27 years in a supervisory role and at the Royal bank of Scotland.

Chan had already started volunteering for Age Concern and had begun to appreciate and enjoy the voluntary world and making a difference.

His work at Bolton Inter-faith Council saw him introduce a range of projects including civic events, Black History events and the Bolton Faith Trail which introduces people – especially youngsters – to other religions and helps them understand different beliefs. One of his most memorable projects was Interfaith Young Ambassadors.


He has helped to lead open discussions, presentations, information-sharing and, above all, a coming together of like-minded people to help others.

He said, “No doubt, coming from a rural village in Gujarat, India to UK and settling in Bolton was a bit of shock but having got employment early, I settled soon. As we arrived in February there was a lot of snow and it was very cold and wearing thick coats was strange. One thing for sure, people were helpful and friendly in Bolton."

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Chan was presented with award by panel members Rahila Bano and Kailash Parekh MBE

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He had this message with regards to Inter-faith work, “As we all know, all our faiths have a common thread inbuilt as humanitarian values of kindness, compassion, empathy, respect, love, tolerance for all mankind. No faith tells you to harm or hurt anyone.

“We also know there are lots of people- doing good work for whole communities in all our faiths in the world.

“We may differ in our ways , but there are far too many things we share in common and hence faith trails and inviting people of other faiths to attend services or events is good way of breaking down the wrong perceptions and barriers in the community.”

On his retirement he tells us, “I have to say it was not an easy decision, particularly being involved in such a rewarding work of interfaith. It is a big life change.

“But as we know, time stops for no one and you have to make a sensible judgement and think about family time, things I wanted to do but did not manage, doing it in my own time without pressures but still to maintain community links and be involved as a volunteer for betterment of our society.

“For me, retirement is a new phase in life, opportunities to do and explore new ideas, reflect and enjoy life to the full. One thing for sure one must remain active and positive.”