A Blackburn woman who has been an inspiration to the visually impaired has been awarded an MBE in the King’s birthday honour’s list.

Saima Ashraf is a senior auditor at Merseyside Police and has been breaking down stereotypes of what a visually impaired person can do.

She was honoured for her services to policing.

Saima said: “I am extremely honoured to receive the recognition for my work with Merseyside Police.

“I have always worked in the community empowering those with disabilities and always thought if I ever received such an award it would be for this. So, receiving it for my service to policing means so much more.

“This year was 55 years since my dad came to the UK. I will be taking my parents to collect the award. They are so proud.”

Saima, who lives in the Roe Lee area, has been at Merseyside Police for 11 years.

She said: “When I started in 2013 I fell in love with the job.

"It is only since I started working in the role I understood there were so many different facets to the career.

“I got involved in the Disability Network and I then went on to become the chair in 2021.

“Then I got the opportunity to join the Disabled Police Association.

“The whole force has been really supportive and I have been able to bring about a number of changes and people at all levels have been open to new ideas.

“They have been keen to hear new voices.

“The force also champions the community and volunteer work I do.”

Saima began losing her sight when she was a child but continued her education, including her Accounting, Business Studies and English Language A-Levels at Blackburn College.

Alongside her work for Merseyside Police, she is also a governor at St Vincent’s School for the Visually Impaired and hosts a radio show in Pendle which looks at health issues which are of concern to the Asian community. 

She has also committed her time to raising money for Blackburn and East Lancashire-based charities.