Proud Pendle Council leader receives MBE in Queen's Birthday Honours List
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Coun. Iqbal, who has served the Bradley ward as a Labour councillor for 22 years, as well as 11 years on Lancashire County Council, was given the prestigious honour in recognition of his services to local government.
Born in Bury, Coun. Iqbal spent his very early years in Keighley, before his family moved to Pendle where he attended St Philip's Primary School in Nelson, Primet High at Colne and then Nelson and Colne College.
The popular leader and father-of-four joked that his long association with politics was his "university of life".
He said: "I am extremely proud of this honour, which comes at definitely my most difficult time in politics as we wrestle with the ongoing coronavirus crisis in Pendle. This is an honour not just for me but for everyone in Pendle at this difficult time.
"I was actually informed by email from the honours committee in the spring but had to keep quiet about it, which was very hard. I could only tell people a few hours before so you can imagine what my mother and siblings said.
"I am just sad that my father, Mohammed Sadiq, who died in 2003 when I was Mayor, was not around to see this. He would have been very proud. My wife Naheed Akhtar and our wider family in Pakistan are also extremely happy."
A tireless campaigner, Coun. Iqbal's day job - working in the revenues and benefits department at Rochdale Council for the last 31 years - hasn't given him a break from politics, but has showed the importance of helping people.
He added: "My father always wanted to help people in the local community and he persuaded me to join the Labour Party so I could help others too. I enjoy that aspect of politics and overall it has been a satisfying experience.
"Obviosuly, the times we are living in currently mean the job is very stressful but we are doing everything we can to come out of this the other side. It's been a hectic weekend with meetings and people ringing to congratulate me about the MBE. I am very proud."