Former England rugby league star Ikram Butt has been named as an ambassador for the British Asian Trust.
Mr Butt, who founded the British Asian Rugby Association in Bradford, was recognised by the trust for his fundraising efforts on behalf of the Pakistan Recovery Fund, which provides help to victims of the country’s devastating floods.
The organisation was set up in 2009 by a group of British Asian business leaders at the suggestion of Prince Charles and aims to bring lasting change to the lives of poor people in South Asia through access to education, health and better livelihoods.
So far the trust has helped more than 350,000 people.
Executive director Hitan Mehta said: “Ikram’s work in organising and delivering high impact rugby fundraising events to support the Pakistan Recovery Fund have contributed significantly to our efforts in the region.
“He will be joining the likes of DJ Nihal Arthanayake, actor Sanjeev Bhaskar and Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid in fulfilling a valuable role of raising awareness of our development work across South Asia and the UK.”
Mr Butt said: “This is a tremendous honour and I’m delighted to be recognised in such a way by the British Asian Trust. I will continue to support the Pakistan Recovery Fund and the British Asian Trust to further enhance their profile in the UK and in South Asia.”
Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland, who is chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group, said: “Ikram is truly an inspirational role model who continues to break down barriers and help grow our sport. We are delighted that his hard work and contributions to rugby league is being recognised by the British Asian Trust.”
Mr Butt was also recently awarded an honorary doctorate in sport science by Leeds Metropolitan University.