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‘A huge honour’: Restaurant owner humbled to receive honorary degree

The owner of a Northampton curry house has been awarded an honorary degree by the University of Northampton in recognition of his charity work and commitment to the community.

Each year, the university recognises individuals who have achieved excellence in their field and those who have contributed their expertise to the university and the region. Saffron owner Naz Islam collected his Honorary Bachelor of Arts at a ceremony last month.

He said: “It is a huge honour and privilege to receive this award. I left school without a qualification to my name and have spent 25 years building up my businesses and charity interests in the town I am proud to call home, so to have this honour from the University of Northampton means a great deal to me and my family.

“I am extremely grateful to the university for the support they have shown to Bangladesh, allowing us to raise the national flag in recognition of our 50 years of independence, and I hope that relationship continues to flourish for generations to come.”

Mr Islam has raised more than £80,000 for local charities and established a school and orphanage in one of the poorest areas of Bangladesh with the help of his family.

Having left school at the age of 16 he started working in a curry house kitchen and fell in love with the industry, saving up enough money to buy his own restaurant. Saffron has gone on to win multiple awards and was named World Cuisine Restaurant of the Year at last year’s Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards.

A spokesman for the University of Northampton said: “Naz is a born and bred Northamptonian whose family hails from Bangladesh. He has lived in Northampton all his life and has a long-standing relationship with the University of Northampton. With his reputation and national and international reach in terms of his support for charities, Naz’s work and ethos align with UoN’s Changemaker values.”

Mr Islam is also former co-director of the Centre for Policy Promotion and Prevention which promotes cooperation between marginal communities and wider society.