THE town of Keighley has sent hundreds of tributes in for a community centre hero who dedicated his life to helping others.

77-year-old Ghulam Rabani, who managed the Sangat Centre, sadly died on Tuesday, February 16, after being hospitalised with coronavirus.

Messages of love flooded in for the "pillar of the community" in the T&A's online book of condolence.

Kay Lindley first met Mr Rabani in 1989 when he was a parent governor and, alongside panel members, appointed her as the head of Utley First School, which later became Victoria Primary School.

Kay served alongside Mr Rabani for many years on the school's governing body and also worked closely with him at the centre itself. She described this time as a "great privilege".

Kay added: "It was a great privilege to work with Mr Rabani and to see the energy and devotion that he gave to his work for and with the community.

"He was extremely well respected by everyone with whom he worked and was a very inspirational role model.

"I relied heavily on his insights and understanding of the community and his comprehension of the dynamics within the families of our schools.

"His death is a very sad loss not only to his immediate family but across the entire community. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him."

Robina Arif said: "Mr Rabani was in every sense a hope to the community. He provided a voice to the voiceless and although his heart was full of love, there was always space to help the needy."

Rizwana Shezad described Mr Rabani as a "true gem of the community".

She added: "A great leader of the community, mentor and humble person. We will miss you always...... you wasn't just a Manager for the staff but a father and true guide."

Shahid Khan sent his prayers and added: "I will remember him for helping and changing peoples lives for the better. It breaks my heart that I won’t be able to see him in the Mosque again with that twinkle in his eye and the mischievous smile on his face but I live in hope and God willing we will meet again in Paradise.

"My thoughts and prayers to his family who can hopefully take comfort in knowing he exemplified one of my favourite quotes; we rise by lifting others. May Almighty Allah Grant Uncle Jannah Ul Firdous. Ameen"

Helal Ahmed told how his father was once visited by Mr Rabani at Airedale Hospital. He added:"I met him on two occasions when he visited my father and I enquired if he knew my dad and that’s why he’s visiting, and he replied, 'No, we spend the whole day going from one ward to another just seeing patients'."

You can read all tributes in the Book of Condolence here...