Chairman of the Leeds Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) and champion of the city’s Sikh community, Harbans Singh Sagoo, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Metropolitan University.
Harbans has played a major part in supporting Sikhs in South Leeds to be a part of mainstream society. As Jathedar of the GNNSJ in Lady Pit Lane, Beeston – the old Ringtons Tea Factory – Harbans, who emigrated to the UK in the late 1960s from Kenya, has worked tirelessly in the voluntary sector to re-shape interfaith work in Yorkshire and Humberside.
He received the Honorary Doctorate on Tuesday 22 July for his service to the city and region and contribution to public and voluntary service.
Speaking about receiving the award he said: “I feel really honoured and privileged to receive this award today. Good education is everybody’s birth rite; my advice to the students graduating today is to give something for nothing, this can really bring you happiness and internal peace.”
The GNNSJ operates an open door policy serves food to the community twice a day, 365 days a year and offers educational facilities, with classes ranging from computing to learning Punjabi, to learning Indian music, to sewing and martial arts. It also caters to Sikhs outside of the area such as Denby Dale, Wakefield, Morley and Dewsbury.
Others receiving honorary degrees from Leeds Metropolitan include: chart-toppers and Leeds Met graduates Piers Aggett and Kesi Dryden, who make up half of the award-winning group Rudimental; Coronation Street boss, Stuart Blackburn; former professional road racing cyclist and national champion, Sid Barras and Mark Herman, the director of critically-acclaimed films, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Brassed Off.
Leeds Metropolitan University Vice Chancellor, Professor Susan Price, said: “With this Honorary Doctorate we are delighted to recognise Harbans’ commitment to the Sikh community and voluntary sector, as well as his tireless contribution towards the re-shaping of interfaith work in our region and beyond. We are very much looking forward to welcoming him to our Headingley Campus to celebrate with us as we honour the achievements of our graduating students.”