FOR Adeeba Malik CBE the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s recent visit to Bradford was the Royal stamp of approval on the city she loves.

As deputy chief executive of QED, a Bradford-based national charity, which works with disadvantaged people in the community, Adeeba also sits on various local, regional and national boards and was invited to meet Kate and William at City Hall last month.

She said it was an honour and a privilege meeting the young royals.

Adeeba spoke to the couple directly and mentioned that there were many people in Bradford, which has the largest Pakistani community outside Pakistan, who appreciated their visit to Pakistan last October, the first Royal tour there since Prince Charles and Camilla in 2006.

“I thanked the royal couple for coming to Bradford and I talked to them about some of the issues that the district’s community faces, especially women.


“They were very interested and said that when they spoke to the younger people they had mentioned the same thing. They were both very engaged.”

Adeeba’s work takes her around the country and this has given her a different perspective on how she views her home city.

“I was born and raised in Bradford and I have seen many changes over the years and right now I feel there is such a buzz around the place.

“When you visit so many different cities and towns you can compare and I think at the moment it feels like something here has changed in a good way.

“In the past people would talk about negative national stories but whoever has visited it for themselves has a completely different view. It’s a very friendly, down-to-earth place with a lot of warmth.”

The world’s media was focused on Bradford that day as Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision to leave their roles as senior royals had been announced.

“Some people talk about a lack of integration but I think that’s untrue. I was stood on the steps of City Hall with Kate and William and I could see the crowds of people who had gathered to see the Royals.

“There were young and old, and people of every race and colour from every corner of the district. This was not an engineered, co-ordinated gathering. It was just what it was and it was the real Bradford.

“I felt so proud that all these people had come out to be part of this special occasion. It was incredibly powerful to see and a brilliant atmosphere to experience.”

But she said there were challenges to overcome in the community and it was vital to help young people achieve their potential.

“At our organisation QED we work with key decision makers, we are on the frontline of promoting Bradford in every possible way but I really feel that we need to do more to help youngsters.

“Yes, it’s up to them to achieve the education and gain the skills they need to succeed in life but it is up to us to provide those opportunities for them. We really need to raise aspirations in the younger generation and that’s why we are celebrating our 30th anniversary by hosting an awards ceremony to recognise the achievements of those who are breaking the mould and already making a difference. They can be a source of inspiration for others.”

As well as the people of Bradford Adeeba said she loved the traditional architecture of places like Salts Mill and city centre buildings.

“There is so much history here. We get people from all over the country coming to visit us at QED, which is based in the city centre, and everyone always comments on the amazing buildings that we are so lucky to have here.

“It’s not just the architecture, Lister Park is an absolute gem, it’s clean and well-used.”

Adeeba grew up opposite Cannon Mills in Great Horton and still lives in the city.

“I had my Ameen (religious ceremony celebrating a child completing recitation of the Holy Quran) at the age of seven and it was held at an old Textile Hall. There were people from both Asian and white backgrounds. It was totally the norm.

“All these key moments in my life have taken place here in Bradford.

“Of course we have the stunning scenery, places like Saltaire where I love to walk the canal. It’s so mesmerizingly peaceful.

“Then we’re so close to Haworth with its literary links which has inspired the likes of Kate Bush and a plethora of other creative people.”

She said she was also a huge fan of culture and enjoyed visiting the Alhambra Theatre and the newly revamped St George’s Hall.

“I go out to watch a real range of entertainment from ballet to the Benidorm stage show which was hilarious. We are so lucky that we have these venues which attract world class artists.”

She has another deeply personal reason why she feels she is moored to Bradford. Her father, who was a well-known figure in the community, is buried at Scholemoor Cemetery.

“I often go to the cemetery to pay my respects and it is astonishing how many names of people from the community you recognise.

“Our parents never imagined when they came here in the 1950s and 1960s that they would be here to stay, that they would be buried here in the soil of this city.

“This is what anchors me to Bradford now. It is our home.”

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