TV star Aftab to spread the hospice word

Pendleside chief executive Helen McVey shows TV presenter Aftab Iqbal around the hospice

Pendleside chief executive Helen McVey shows TV presenter Aftab Iqbal around the hospice

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A television star from Pakistan has visited Pendleside Hospice in a bid to encourage more people to use and support its vital work.

Aftab Iqbal, a leading journalist and TV celebrity, visited the Reedley-based hospice as part of his visit to the UK.

Mr Iqbal, who writes, directs and produces the programme Khabardar on Express News, spent time seeing the work the hospice undertakes looking after people with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

He has now pledged to help the hospice by helping to raise its profile in the local Pakistani community in Pendle and Burnley.

And he has also offered to tell of the work the charity carries out through his TV programme, as well as vowing to make return visits to the hospice when he visits the UK.

He talked to staff and patients, and was shown the services the hospice offers including dementia care, reflexology and bereavement support. 

After which he spoke to Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson about how the local Pakistani community can engage with the hospice.

Mr Iqbal, who was on his first visit to Lancashire, said: “I came to this great facility to see what kind of work was being done, and encourage more people in the Pakistani community to access their help. 

“I’m very impressed with the work that’s being carried out and I want to mobilise the Pakistani community, locally, to be more caring and generous towards this great cause, and to spare everything that’s in their power.

“I’ve got a lot of inspiration and I’m looking forward to doing this kind of activity in Pakistan, and I vow that whenever I come to the UK I will try my very best to visit this facility.”

Pendleside Hospice chief executive Helen McVey said: “We are honoured that Mr Iqbal took time out of his busy schedule to come and see the vital work that we do for the people of Burnley and Pendle.

“To have support from such a prominent figure is a real privilege and we hope that more people from the local Pakistani community will be encouraged to access our services.”

The visit was arranged by Nelson-based VB Media which organises events on behalf of Mr Iqbal. 

The company was inspired to help raise the profile of the hospice in the local Pakistani community following the death of Brierfield man Shahbaz Saleem who passed away at the hospice in December.

The 28-year-old former RAF officer and father-of-two raised almost £17,000 for the Reedley-based hospice in his last few weeks as a thank-you for the care he was receiving.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “There are 1.2million British people who can trace their roots back to Pakistan.  It is great to see a charity such as Pendleside Hospice reaching out to remind everyone that regardless of background, anyone can access help such as this when they need it.”