Burnley restaurant owner deeply honoured after being awarded Mayor's Medal

A Burnley restaurant owner who delivered free meals to vulnerable people during the pandemic has been awarded a Mayor's Medal.

(Left to right) Coun. Wajid Khan with Ibby Ali, wife Rushada, and children Adnan, Aqeela and Ayaan.
(Left to right) Coun. Wajid Khan with Ibby Ali, wife Rushada, and children Adnan, Aqeela and Ayaan.

Ibby Ali, head chef at Usha restaurant in Rossendale Road, spent last summer delivering freshly cooked meals free of charge to those in need across the town while suffering the heartbreak of seeing his own business closed during lockdown.

Through the restaurant's Facebook page, he asked customers to name any elderly, vulnerable people who would benefit from a free meal before going on to also offer "NHS Heroes" 10% off takeaways.

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Coun. Wajid Khan, who became Lord Khan of Burnley in March and retired as mayor last month, presented Ibby with the medal during a special ceremony at Burnley Town Hall.

The Mayor’s Medal initiative was launched to recognise people and organisations who have gone “above and beyond” during the coronavirus crisis.

Ibby said: "It was an absolute honour receiving a Mayor’s Medal with my lovely kids and wife by my side. It’s often wonderful to see your hard work and efforts being recognised by the community.

"From working from the age of only 12, instead of focusing on a childhood I was the kid with big dreams and aspirations. From having empty pockets and walking miles just to get to school, I felt the hunger in my bones which I projected into my business Usha. That drive and determination is what has brought me to this moment today.

"I’d like to thank the Mayor himself and the people of Burnley, my neighbourhood, my community, my home which I’m proud to call mine. I’d like to thank my parents for raising me to be the man who I am today and my family for the endless amount of love and support.

"I’d especially like to thank my partners at Usha & the staff for being by my side and having such staff who aren’t just my employees but in fact my family.

"And of course I'd like to thank all those people who took the time to nominate me. Thank you all so much."