MORE than £2.1 million has been raised for charity by a Shipley-based restaurant chain’s annual dinner.

Aagrah, the UK and Europe’s largest Kashmiri restaurant chain, held its 35th annual business dinner, which this year raised £130,000 for good causes. This took the total to more than £2.1m in the history of the event.

Aagrah’s fund raising is carried out through its charity wing, Jannat Welfare International Trust, in memory of Sajid Sabir, the son of the restaurant chain’s chairman, Mohammed Sabir, to benefit local, national and international charities.

Around 700 business guests attended the event, held in the Centenary Pavilion at Leeds United’s Elland Road ground.

The occasion was a double celebration for Aagrah, as it marked its 40th anniversary this year.

Proceeds from this year’s charity dinner went to Macmillan Cancer Support. The event also incorporated this year’s Hospitality Business Awards (North).

The awards brought well deserved recognition to the North of England region which prides itself in having top hospitality based businesses to compete with the best across the UK.

Three independent judges, Andy Welsh, chief executive of the Bradford College Group, Josh Wong, partner at Signature Litigation, and Andrew Green, of Craft Guild of Chefs, had the task to sift through high calibre entries to select the winning companies. The award winners were Noveltea, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, were named the new start-up of the year; Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey, were hospitality venue of the year; Suma Foods, of Halifax, were named exporter of the year and Wensleydale Creamery, North Yorkshire won the business of the year.

Mohammed Aslam, Aagrah managing director, said the prestigious event showed off the best of the region’s businesses.

He said: “I’ve seen some fantastic achievements across the region over the years and we want to continue this success by celebrating our thriving culinary scene.”

Aagrah is a family-owned business that now employs 450 staff. It has 12 branches across Yorkshire, including in Thornbury and Shipley.

Mr Aslam, who has already received an MBE for his work, has made it his mission to promote Kashmiri cuisine to be recognised as a cuisine in its own right.

This is not the first time Aagrah has made a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Last year’s annual business dinner raised £20,000 for the charity’s base in Shipley.

The funds raised were used to support people from across the UK affected by cancer through funding essential services, including the cancer support line based at the charity’s offices in The Waterfront, Salts Mill Road.

The centre, which officially opened in January 2012, employs 150 people and is the charity’s biggest site in the UK, outside of London.

The firm has received honours including a special achievement award in 2014 at the British Curry Awards London.

Aagrah worked with partners; Department for International Trade, Leeds City and Bradford Councils, Cobra Beer, Kingfisher beer, LWC and Pepsi and Tilda Rice on the awards ceremony.