Memorial service for Manor Park community champion

Family, friends and East Ham MP Stephen Timms paid tribute to a community champion at a memorial service in Manor Park last week.

Zafar Iqbal Sharif, of Third Avenue, Manor Park, died of a heart attack at the age of 52 two years ago while on holiday in Pakistan.

Described by his son Muhammad Usman Sharif as “a chartered accountant by day and a humanitarian by night”, Zafar helped the local community with their problems through Mr Timms and created a charity, the Kashmir Relief and Development Foundation (KRDF), to help the survivors of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.

The charity’s work was mostly funded by multi-faith organisations and donations from his community in Newham, building six schools, vocational training centres and water projects.

The memorial service was held at the Community Centre, Anjuman-e-Islamia, on High Street North on February 29 with around 150 people in attendance including Zafar’s widow Nusrat, his two daughters, and his two sons.

Mr Timms gave a speech at the service along with his son Muhammad who said he would carry on his father’s community work.

He said: “His hard work and dedication that he put down every single day is what has made me, my brother and my sisters the human beings we are.

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“We learnt a lot from him. His personality stands in front of us as a role model for us to follow, not only for now but for the rest of our lives.

“His life is the perfect example of how to make the most of the time you have to live.”