WABF dinner raises £10,000 for flood victims in Pakistan. - 27-10-2010
A dinner in Woking arranged by the Woking Asian Business Forum has raised £10,000 in aid of Pakistan Flood Relief.

150 people attended from the Pakistani, Indian, Sikh and non-Asian communities from Woking and Guildford.

They heard moving talks by WABF chairman, Shahid Azeem, and World Champion rower Dr Vicky Hansford. Azeem reported how three young Pakistanis had paid their way from Woking to go and help the flood victims in North West Pakistan.

With £165,000 raised locally they were building 47 houses, provided 800 tents and helped set up a medical camp (more details at www.125homes.com).

Vicky Hansford, a teacher at the University of Surrey, paraplegic Gold Medallist in the 100 metres and an Olympic Medallist in rowing, urged everyone to ‘remain positive and persevere in the face of adversity – and you’ll get there’.

She should know. At 22 she was planning her own funeral after doctors gave her 6 months to live as she was suffering from a very advanced cancer. However, after having a leg and lung removed, Vicky recovered to go on to achieve extra-ordinary feats in international sport.

Following an utterly inspirational address she said: “It’s a pleasure to be here tonight because sometimes disasters like the floods in Pakistan happen and then they are forgotten about. So we need to reiterate the need for support out there.

“It’s heart-breaking to see families destroyed and torn apart at a moment’s notice.”

The second high profile speaker was BBC veteran Garry Richardson, who regaled the audience with anecdotes from his 35 years covering 5 Olympics and 20 years of Wimbledon.

Continuing the sporting theme there was an auction of items including a Fernando Torres shirt (£1,000); a shirt signed by the Pakistani cricket team (£200) and a baseball cap signed by Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton (£500). The Woking Rotary Club also presented a cheque for £1,000.

“It has been a fantastic evening and we’re very grateful to all the people who have attended and given so generously,” said Shahid Azeem, “It is vitally important not to forget the flood victims now the story is no longer in the headlines.

“And the Woking Asian Business Forum is also set on helping integrate all members of the local Asian and non-Asian communities to help each other and also to do business together.”