Birmingham’s Lord Mayor has told of his determination to prevent his long-standing battle with cancer from restricting his duties as the first citizen.
Coun Chauhdry Abdul Rashid, 68, has twice fought off leukaemia and is due to stand down next month.
His tenacious spirit will see him through to the end of his post, as he plans to abseil down the side of the 150ft Linden Block at the Cadbury factory in Bournville later this month.
The father of seven said he planned to continue a wide range of activities. His passion for civic life will see him continue to carry out public duties as a magistrate and as the next Deputy Lord Mayor.
He will also act as a school governor and sit on the board of Birmingham Family Housing Association and of St Peters (Saltley) Housing Association.
Despite arriving in the UK aged 13 and being able to speak very little English, Coun Rashid is also the Chancellor of Birmingham City University.
He said: “I have had leukaemia twice – once in 1995 and once in 2003. It came back in 2003 after I missed a couple of years of check-ups and that was when I nearly died.
“But it’s a great honour to serve the people of Birmingham – my health doesn’t come into it at all. I also suffer from arthritis and have had angina three times.
“I have put it right behind me and I just get on with the job. Although I have to be careful with my diet, I have been very fortunate that I have never had to decline an engagement because of my health.”
“As a magistrate I will be straight back in court and I will be Deputy Lord Mayor for the next 12 months.
“I will also be doing all my work and advice surgeries for my ward in Nechells.”
Coun Rashid said his year in office as Lord Mayor had been exciting and that it was difficult for him to pick out his best moment from a series of engagements, which have taken him all over the city as well as to China.
But he admitted that initiatives around education, such as the degree ceremonies of Birmingham’s universities, held a special place in his heart.
“I left school aged 13 in Pakistan and when I came to the UK in 1955 I could hardly speak any English,” he added.
“I knew a few words but could not have a conversation and here I am now a Lord Mayor of the largest local authority in the UK.”
Coun Rashid said he was immensely proud to be Chancellor of Birmingham City University.”