A COMMUNITY award in memory of Caneze Riaz has been presented during an evening launched to celebrate cultural diversity in Hyndburn.
The event was held at Accrington Town Hall when around 200 people turned up to learn about different cultures and celebrations within each religion.
During the evening guests were given an insight into Eid, Christmas and New Year, and the birthday of Sikh guru Gobind Singh was also acknowledged.
Organised by Asian women's group Aawaz, the event brought together people from all cultural backgrounds and was aimed at promoting diversity and raising awareness and understanding of different beliefs.
Aawaz volunteer and mother-of-five Nazira Jahanzeb was presented with the first-ever Caneze Riaz Award, named after the 39-year-old mum who was killed in a house fire at her Tremellen Street home in November along with her husband and four daughters.
Caneze was a well-known community worker who dedicated a lot of her time to helping local voluntary organisations and she was a member of Aawaz.
Aawaz manager Zulekha Dala said the award was a fitting reminder of a woman who was so highly thought of.
She said: "Nazira received the award because she received the most nominations and it was clear to us the respect and admiration that people have for her.
"She has been well known in the community for her voluntary work for such a long time and she is always able to give us a lot of her own time.
"Nazira was like a sister to Caneze and I think she would have been pleased to know that Nazira was the winner."
After receiving the award, a delighted Nazira, 49, of Persia Street, Accrington, said: "I am really happy about receiving the award but I am most pleased that it is in the name of my best friend Caneze Riaz.
"She was like a sister to me, we were very close. I have learned so much from being a volunteer and I would encourage other women in Hyndburn to do the same.
"It is nice to have something positive to remember Caneze by and I am sure she would have been happy to know that I had been presented with the award."
Zulekha said the evening was very emotional and Caneze's brother Barry Khanan and mum June Khanan, along with about 13 members of the family turned up to show their support for the event.
Many colleagues shared memories of Caneze on the night and agreed the award has proved to be a positive way of remembering her.
The first multi-cultural celebration event was held on 30 October last year. It was the last time colleagues saw Caneze as she died in the early hours of the following morning.
Zulekha added: "Caneze wasn't with us at the latest event so we wanted to do something to remember her and appreciate her work.
"We felt that the good work she had done should be an inspiration to other people."
The Aawaz group is now looking for a sponsor to ensure the Caneze Riaz Award can be presented each year.
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