Northampton philanthropist given Freedom of City of London

Posted 29th May 2024

A well-known Northampton businessman has been handed the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of his charity work and commitment to the community in his home nation of Bangladesh.

Naz Islam was presented with the title during a reception held at The Guildhall in London on Tuesday, 28 May.

During a 27-year career, Naz has raised almost £100,000 for local charities and established a school and orphanage in one of the poorest areas of Bangladesh with the help of his family.

He said: “Receiving this honour means the world to me and I am grateful beyond words for this recognition. It was a very special moment and one I will treasure forever.

“I care passionately about my community, both here in Northampton and in Bangladesh. I have always tried to give back, helping those less fortunate than myself and raising money for local charities that are close to my heart.”

Naz has worked tirelessly to support Northampton’s growing Bangladeshi community and encourage community empowerment and cohesion, while helping to establish strong links between his homeland and the University of Northampton, where he regularly arranges flag-raising ceremonies to mark the country’s Independence Day and Victory Day to remember the fallen heroes of the liberation war of 1971 with the Northampton community.

Naz is a previous winner of the Heart of Northampton award and was last year given an honorary degree from the University of Northampton in recognition of his services to business and community cohesion. He was handed a British Citizen’s Award earlier this year.

The Freedom of the City of London is one of the oldest surviving traditional ceremonies still in existence today and is believed to have been first presented in 1237.

Naz added: “Well-renowned people such as Royal family members, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Ed Sheeran, and Professor Sir Chris Whitty were also granted this award which makes me proud that I am able to gain the same level of achievement. I sincerely thank my nominator for putting my name forward for this award.”

The recognition has been well-received by members of the Bangladeshi community.

Lord Rami Ranger CBE said: “I have known Naz for over a decade. He is a unique individual who works hard and takes his civic duties very seriously. He is a great role model for the British Bangladeshi community.

“He not only celebrates the Independence Day of Bangladesh with pride but also supports many organisations representing the British Bangladeshi community in the UK.”

Cllr Imran Ahmed Chowdhury BEM added: “This award is a testament to Naz’s unwavering commitment and dedication to community service. His passion and tireless efforts have undoubtedly made a significant impact, and his contributions to education with the University of Northampton are deserving of high praise. This recognition is well-deserved and serves as an inspiration to us all to strive for positive changes to our communities.”