Hundreds of people turned out to pay their final respects to a Blackburn man who dedicated much of his life helping his local mosque.

The funeral prayers for Rabnawaz Raja, 75, took place on Sunday April 9 before his body was flown to Pakistan for burial there. It was one of his final wishes to be buried in the country of his birth.

Mr Raja was one of the founder members of the Islamic Education Centre, based on Davenport Road. He also served on the mosque’s death committee where he assisted bereaved families for decades.

His work helped to inspire a whole new generation of volunteers who are aiming to build the new Islamic Education Centre nearby.

A tribute shared when Mr Raja's death was announced read: “Mr Raja was a humble soul who demonstrated to us how you should tackle adversity in life. We are truly indebted to your strength and humility.

“He was a man who showed true grit throughout his life. A community man with a heart of gold who dedicated his to running the funeral committee.

“You will be truly missed.”

The funeral prayers were read at the much larger Jamia Ghosia Mosque on Chester Street to accommodate the vast number of people who wished to pay their respects to Mr Raja.

The mosque was completely full as tributes were read out to Mr Raja.

Those gathered were told of the how much of an influence Mr Raja has been to those around him and despite his illness in recent years had managed to maintain his focus to help others.

Mr Raja had four daughters and two sons and had turned 75 in February.

A family tribute read: “We have lost a brother, a husband, father and a grandad but the community has lost someone who was dedicated to the betterment of his neighbours.

“He would take great pride in assisting others and take his time to being there for families in their hour of need. 

“We are thankful to everyone for their kind tributes and have met many people who were assisted by our father. Many of these people we had never met before and had been touched by his generosity over the years.

“He has left a lasting legacy for all his wider family and the community.”

Mr Raja was buried in Pakistan last Thursday (April 13).