Solidarity: Community champion rallies over 200 people in Bradford graveyard clean up


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EXEMPLARY: Adil Shaan (left) urges young people to join in positive voluntary actions, pictured here with his colleague Isran Akhtar and in the background Suria Nawaz and her children Muhammad, Ahmad and Aminah

EXEMPLARY: Adil Shaan (left) urges young people to join in positive voluntary actions, pictured here with his colleague Isran Akhtar and in the background Suria Nawaz and her children Muhammad, Ahmad and Aminah

 

“Kullu Nafsin Zaiqatul Maut” (every soul shall taste death)”

In an amazing show of solidarity, over 200 people gave up their Sunday to join forces in a major clean up of one of Bradford’s largest graveyards.

Eager men, women and children equipped with their wellies, gloves, spades and bags descended upon Scholemoor Cemetery in Great Horton, one of 24 cemeteries in the Bradford Metropolitan District.

This was the graveyard’s second major clean-up and took over six hours to rid it from fly tipping mess that had been dumped there. The initiative was organised by voluntary group ‘Friends of the Deceased’ (FOTD).

27-year-old banking complaints manager Adil Shaan, founder of FOTD group, says that he was inspired to keep the graveyard clean and litter-free as his own grandparents are buried at Scholemoor.

Headed up by Adil, volunteers, many of whom don’t even have family members buried there, flocked the site to lend a helping hand. They ended up filling an entire skip and over 50 large bags of refuse.

“My social media post went viral last year after I called out for people to come and assist with tidying up the cemetery for the first time,” explains Heaton-man Adil.

“It’s been such an eye-opener.

There are so many good-hearted people around who are willing to give up some hours for selfless labour, all you have to do is ask.”

As well as rallying up support through Facebook again this year, which was shared widely by friends and family, Adil and his friends had posters and flyers made which were put up in businesses and community centres across Bradford.

The group saw many local businesses generously donating gardening tools, gloves, bags and refreshments for those toiling away on the day.

Adil reminisces that last year when the first ever clean up started, the late much-loved 33-year charity worker and humanitarian Syed Sharaz Ali Shah - fondly known as Shah Gee took part.

Shah Gee suffered from breathing problems and died during a major operation on his heart at Leeds General Infirmary in September last year.

“Now Shah Gee is buried on the same site he was cleaning,” says Adil sadly. It’s heart-breaking when you look back and remember.

“Friends Of Shah Gee all attended this years clean up too.”

Adil says that he hopes to inspire young people. “’Be part of something different that has never been done before.

“’Kullu Nafsin Zaiqatul Maut’ (every soul shall taste death).

“A lot of us will only be able to donate a relatively small amount of time at each clean up, but it is important to see the bigger picture you are contributing to.

“Powerful work is made up of thousands of actions from a number of people who come together.

“I would ask young people to volunteer their free time and give time to any projects that helps the local community.

“Myself starting from young age of volunteering,  it is very rewarding, you feel good about yourself and most importantly seeing changes that you made in your local community makes you proud.”

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