A WELL-KNOWN philanthropist, businessman and pharmacist, who is part of the very fabric of Bradford, celebrated his 70th birthday in the week.

Dr Manoj Joshi entered the eighth decade of his life on Thursday and has fit plenty in during that time.

The 70-year-old , who came to the city from Uganda and is of Indian-Gujarati origin, was most recently appointed Chair of Bradford's Economic Partnership.

But he also had a 27-year career in pharmaceuticals and health care, including as a Business Development Manager for AstraZeneca, at a time when revolutionary drugs were discovered by the company.

Dr Joshi turned the fortunes round of Bradford Academy from 2002 as a Founding Governor and revolutionised a nursing home in the district from 1990, almost doubling the amount of beds available at the setting and funding the training of six nurses from scratch.

He also managed to fit in owning a Post Office in Clayton Road - his first business - and opening a chemist.

Most people would struggle to fit all Dr Joshi's achievements, accolades and experiences into multiple lifetimes, nevermind just under 50 years, yet he still has the drive to continue.

He said: "I want to do more and I want to also enable others to do more, because you just can't do it on your own.

"But if more people do little bits - I just read somewhere that little drops in the ocean make the ocean.

"But if there's no drops, you won't have an ocean, so you need lots of drops."

But why keep grafting when he could have ridden off into the sunset many years ago and looked back on an impressive list of achievements?

Dr Joshi said: “I know what it is like not to have and therefore I just want to give as much as I have, or much more, because giving is so rewarding, and receiving.

“And I know that people don’t just need gifts in terms of money, they need mentoring, they need guidance, they need support, they need money.

“We can help in so many ways, we can give in so many ways.

“In my ancient Sanskrit language, there are three things that we can always give, which is: you can give money, you can give labour, and you can give brains.”

The Telegraph & Argus invited Dr Joshi to its new office to celebrate his birthday with a cake and hot drinks and also presented the esteemed figure with a special commemorative front page of the paper, featuring pictures and stories of the 70-year-old throughout his life.

Dr Joshi spoke at length about his life - the trials and tribulations, the joys of helping others and some stand out figures who he will never forget.

It all began in 1972 at 21 years old, when Dr Joshi fled his homeland of Uganda, which was under the oppressive regime of Idi Amin, to England.

Dr Joshi said it was more a feeling of "not knowing", rather than being scared, initially.

He added: "We knew we were coming to England and England was the best country, because even without this crisis, people always aspired, especially the commonwealth countries, always looked up to England as a place to go to study, to do business, to visit.

"So when we came here, we were very happy to be in England, because we knew we would be safe.

"When you are in a traumatised situation, like Ukrainians and Afghanistanis, you're traumatised, you don't know, but if you know you're going somewhere safe, then that's the best thing."

Dr Joshi explained families were taken to different army camps and a Uganda Resettlement Board was established.

Buses would turn up every week and families would be taken to visit places like Brighton, Cardiff, Truro or London, and when they arrived, people from the local authority would greet them and settle the refugees in those locations, depending on what facilities were available.

Dr Joshi and his family ended up in Derby first off.

He said: "The warmth of welcoming in Derby was overwhelming, when we first went there, 'you're welcome, nice to see you, you are most welcome' and that made a difference, we thought these guys really want to have us here."

But Bradford became Dr Joshi's home in 1981, after a job was created in the city for the pharmacist.

His father had just died and Dr Joshi was struggling to cope travelling from Derby to London all the time and wanted to be nearer his family, having just got married.

He said: "I said, if I go anywhere, I want to go where the best school in country is and the best school at the time was Bradford Grammar School, so I said I'll go to work in Bradford.

"So that's why we're here in Bradford.

"I could choose to live in Harrogate, or Oxenhope, or Holmfirth, but I chose Bradford because of the school and Bradford is the best place.

"The people are nice, lovely buildings, I got the best welcome in Bradford, made a lot of friends to start with.

"My daughter is born in Bradford; my first son, my first child was born in Derby, I was living in London but I made sure that he was born in Derby, because that's where my original place is.

"But when I came to Bradford the same choice was there, the second child was going to be born and I was going back to Derby for the second child to be born.

"But I just fell in love with Bradford so much that I said, our second child must be born in Bradford, because we never want to lose connection with Bradford.

"So I'm here by choice and very happy we made that choice."

It all could have been so different, if it were not for a variety of small moments in Dr Joshi's life that dominoed into pivotal chains of events.

The 70-year-old reminisced about an old friend, Ken Jones, who changed his life and gave him a chance when others ignored him.

Dr Joshi said: "My eyes are watering, remembering Ken Jones."

Dr Joshi had been working at a business in Derby for a number of months and would sit on his own eating his toast on lunch break.

No one would join him and they would all be in separate groups, laughing and joking away with each other, he remembers.

This went on for several months and Dr Joshi "just got on with it" - a theme of his life - until Mr Jones - a severely disabled man, according to Dr Joshi - came and sat with him.

Mr Jones asked Dr Joshi if he played cricket and told him to come along to training at the weekend.

Dr Joshi tentatively did so, but was seemingly again in a lonesome situation initially, away from the main group.

It turns out Mr Jones himself was experiencing a similar scenario, umpiring at first before moving to take on scoring when he was no longer able to do the former.

Dr Joshi got himself involved though and scepticism from the other players soon turned to shock and admiration when he began spinning the ball when bowling.

He was asked to come along and play for the Centurions and was featured in a paper in Derby after the team won the "Butterly Cup" for the first ever time.

Through cricket, he was asked to interpret for non-English speaking prisoners by a teammate named "Don" and from this he became an interpreter in court cases.

It has been a vast and varied lifetime for Dr Joshi so far and it does not look like this most remarkable of men will be stopping his inspiring work any time soon.