Man of the people dies aged 75

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THOUSANDS of mourners packed the funeral of one of the most respected members of Sheffield’s Asian community.

Kashmir-born Mohammed Walayat was known to thousands of people as Dr Choudry, a term used in his native land to apply to man of the people.

Mr Walayat, who leaves two sons and two daughters, died aged 75 after a long illness.

Mourners at his funeral included high-ranking police officers, politicians and many people from abroad.

Mr Choudry, who campaigned against intolerance and played a major part in community life, arrived in Britain in 1961 and went on to become a councillor serving Darnall for 12 years between 1986 and 1998.

Mr Walayat was awarded an MBE to mark his 30 years service to the people of Darnall. He served on the Police Authority and played a leading role in the creation of the Pakistan Muslim Centre in Attercliffe.

His work in building bridges between different ethnic groups earned him an honorary doctorate in law from the University of Khartoum.

His son Kash said: “It was incredible to see so many people come to mourn my father.

“He was a special man, a man of the people and all his life he was a fighter.

“Six months ago he had a stroke and doctors gave him 24 hours to live. But the fighter kept going.”

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of Sheffield Council’s opposition Lib Dem group, said: “Choudry was a regular visitor to our house when I was young and a close family friend.

“Despite me joining a different political party to his, he was happy for me to be involved in politics and was very helpful to me.”

Mr Choudry was laid to rest in Shiregreen Cemetery.