Five Luton legends awarded freedom of borough - including Hatters' Mick Harford and human rights campaigner

They were honoured for their tireless work in communities across Luton
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Five prominent people have honoured with the ‘freedom of the borough’ by Luton Council for their contributions to the town.

Dr Nazia Khanum, Imam Qazi Abdul Aziz Chishti, Geoffrey Farr, Derek Ludlow and Mick Harford were given the awards last night (March 26) by the mayor, councillor Yaqub Hanif. After this, the newly appointed honorary freemen and freewoman signed a declaration and the roll.

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Councillor Hanif said: “It is a genuine pleasure to acknowledge and thank each of the recipients of this award. Luton’s strength lies in its people and to be able to confirm Freedom of the Borough upon these individuals who have given so much to the town is nothing more than they deserve.

The mayor alongside those awarded last night. Picture: Luton Borough CouncilThe mayor alongside those awarded last night. Picture: Luton Borough Council
The mayor alongside those awarded last night. Picture: Luton Borough Council

“In different ways and in different fields, each encapsulates what it means to be a Lutonian: to help others and to make our town a better place through their words and actions. It is an honour for me to be present and play a small part in acknowledging what they mean to us all.”

Imam Qazi Abdul Aziz Chishti MBE is well respected in Luton’s Muslim community and beyond, having founded the Jamia Islamia Ghousia Trust in 1986. The charity gives religious and welfare support to Muslims community and runs an Islamic Education Centre. During the pandemic, he oversaw and led over 100 funerals bringing comfort to bereaved families.

Mr Geoffrey Farr MBE DL served as a Conservative councillor on Luton Council from 1961 to 1969 and as an Alderman from 1969 to 1972. He’s been a supporter and fundraiser of Keech hospice since it opened 30 years ago. Geoffrey is also a co-founder and president of the Patrons of the Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation and a life member of the Worshipful Company of Feltmakers of London.

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For Hatters fans, they don’t need an introduction to the Luton Town FC legend Mick Harford. The former footballer, coach and manager has spent a big portion of both his playing and non-playing career in the town. His commitment to the club and unwavering support for its role in the town has earned him the “legend” status.

Dr Nazia Khanum OBE DL is a international champion of human rights, education and equalities – with a special focus on gender equality and elimination of violence. The Bangladeshi-born British management consultant and researcher brought her family to Luton in the early 1980s, and is a non-executive director for Luton Primary Care Trust. She made history in becoming the first Asian woman to become a Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire.

Former Deputy Lieutenant for Bedfordshire, Derek Ludlow, MBE CBE DL chairs the Ludlow group of companies of Luton and has been rewarded in the past for his community work in Luton and Bedfordshire. In 1975 he formed his own company, serving the automobile industry, and eventually overseeing one of the most successful car body shop companies in the country. He has supported several organisations, charities, businesses and cultural groups.

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