THE Observer is sponsoring an annual award in memory of Caneze Riaz, who was killed along with her family in a house fire last year.

In conjunction with Asian women's group Aawaz, we will pay for awards which will be handed to Lancashire women who go above and beyond the call of duty to help in the community.

Caneze, 39, was well-known in the town for her work with various organisations.

She gave up her spare time tirelessly to help others and was involved with many groups including Aawaz.

She was killed in a blaze at her Tremellen Street home on 1 November along with husband Mohammed, 49, and their four daughters Sayrah, 16, Sophia, 15, Alicia, 10, and Hannah, three.

The couple's son Adam was not at home at the time of the fire but died several weeks later after losing his battle against leukaemia.

The award winners will be acknowledged for their hard work and dedication at an annual glitzy ceremony. The main accolade will be named the Caneze Riaz Award but more help is needed to help get the event off the ground.

Observer editor Mervyn Kay said: "Caneze touched the hearts of a lot of people in the town and proved to be a huge inspiration to many.

"We are proud to sponsor an award in her memory because she was a major part of our community and we hope this event will ensure she will never be forgotten."

Funds are still urgently needed to cover various costs including venue hire, refreshments, nomination forms and flowers for the winners.

The awards will be split into five categories and are aimed at women, from all backgrounds, who deserve recognition for the good work they do.

Aawaz manager Zulekha Dala said: "There are a lot of women doing superb community and voluntary work but nobody gets to hear about it.

"We decided to name the award after Caneze because she did a lot of work to bring communities together. She was a remarkable woman."

The Aawaz team is able to put in the time and commitment to organise the event but it is a charity and donations are urgently needed.

If anyone is willing to provide financial assistance for the event, contact Aawaz on or Stephanie Turner at the Observer on 871444.

  • THE inquest into the deaths will take place on Tuesday and a full report will appear in next Friday's Observer.