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‘Gentle’ teen and ‘dedicated’ councillor die of Covid-19

24th Apr 2020
‘Gentle’ teen and ‘dedicated’ councillor die of Covid-19

Shabnum Sadiq, Labour councillor and mother of five (Credit: Slough Borough Council)

Elham Asaad Buaras

A “gentle and kind” 13-year-old boy from London and a “dedicated” councillor from Slough are among members of the British Muslim community to die from Covid-19.

Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, 13, from Brixton, south London, died in King’s College Hospital on March 30.

Labour Councillor and mother-of-five Shabnum Sadiq was on a trip to Pakistan when she fell ill and died on April 6, following complications from the virus.

Ismail, who had no pre-existing health conditions, was at one point the youngest person in the country to die from the virus. A day after his burial on April 3 a five-year-old child with underlying health conditions also died.

Islmail’s mother and six siblings were forced to self-isolate as they had come down with Covid-10 symptoms and could not attend his burial at Eternal Gardens at Kemnal Park Cemetery in Chislehurst, southeast London.

A friend of the family said they were “devastated” not been able to attend but a live stream was arranged for them.

Mark Stephenson, who delivered a short speech for the family at the service, said Ismail’s younger brother and older sister had both developed mild symptoms including a temperature and loss of taste.

Stephenson, Director at the Madinah College where Ismail’s sister works, set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral costs and for the family, who also lost Ismail’s father to cancer. More than £70,000 has been raised far exceeding the £4,000 target.
“It’s extremely upsetting for everyone involved, but they have been very moved by the warmth and very positive messages of support from people following their appeal,” he said.

Slough Borough Council Leader, Councillor James Swindlehurst, said, “Shabnum was a dedicated Councillor and despite only being in her first term, she had made a contribution far beyond the years she’d spent in the council chamber. We worked together closely and personally I will miss her very deeply. This is a significant loss for the council and the town, but is nothing compared to the loss her family, close friends and community are feeling right now.”

He added, “Behind every statistic about this virus is a family ripped apart and there is no starker example of that, to us in the council, than to lose one our colleagues. May she rest in peace and her family find comfort in the love she had for them all.”

In May 2016, Sadiq was elected to Wexham Lea Ward and served on various council committees and was, for a time, lead member for education and children services.

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