Obituary: Lord Adam Patel, people’s person

28th Jun 2019
Obituary: Lord Adam Patel, people’s person

(Photo: Ahmed J Versi/Muslim News)

Adam Hafejee Patel, Baron Patel of Blackburn (7 June 1940 – 29 May 2019) was a British businessman and Labour Member of the House of Lords and was a respected member of the Muslim community. Lord Adam Patel died after a long illness at the age of 78.

Lord Patel arrived in Blackburn from Kamad village, in Bharuch, Gujarat, in 1965.

He was educated at The Pioneer High School, Bharuch, and the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce.

Whilst in the UK, he funded his accountancy studies by working at a Dewsbury cotton mill for six months. He then went on to become the Managing Director of a clothing manufacturing company.

He set up with Yousuf Bhailok Lancashire Enterprises Ltd, a public and private sector company to regenerate Lancashire post textile decline.

He founded with Yousuf Bhailok Lancashire Council of Mosques in 1990.

He was Vice-President of the Blackburn Community Relations Council, counsellor to the Muslim Council of Britain and Chairman of the British Hajj Commission He had negotiated on behalf of the MCB with the Foreign Office to take Hajj delegation and he later headed it.

He was a founding member of the Blackburn Community Relations Council, which became the Racial Equality Council, he had founded the Blackburn Indian Workers’ Association within two years of arriving in the town, in 1967.

Lord Patel was also made an Honorary Fellow of the Bolton Institute (now known as University of Bolton) as well as of the University of Central Lancashire. He also became an Honorary Patron of the leading Blackburn Rovers Football Club supporters group, The BRFC Action Group, in May 2012.

He joined the Labour party in 1966 and was close to Barbara Castle, then MP for Blackburn, and her successor in 1979, Jack Straw.

On February 14, 2000, he was made a Life Peer as Baron Patel of Blackburn, of Langho in the County of Lancashire as a crossbencher but soon took the Labour whip.

Bhailok, former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain and a successful businessman in Blackburn told The Muslim News: “I shall surely miss a man of the people. He was a stalwart and pioneer of our Muslim community development. He was a pillar of the Blackburn and Lancashire communities and someone who was approachable and understood the plight of Muslims and indeed community cohesion.”

He married Ayesha Bholabhai in 1964. They had four sons, Ilyas, Imran, Imtyaz and Iqbal, and four daughters, Shirin, Shamim, Sophia and Saleha.

He was buried on May 30 at Pleasington Cemetery, Blackburn.

Ahmed J Versi

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