A BUSINESSMAN has been praised for his contribution to the Bangladeshi community.

Siraj Ali won the Channel S Award for years of charity work in south Essex, which has raised almost £2million for good causes.

Mr Ali, 54, who lives in Scratton Road, Stanford-le-Hope, runs the Maharaja restaurant in London Road, Benfleet, which hosts charity nights for causes including the Multiple Sclerosis Society, NSPCC, British Red Cross and Breast Cancer Awareness.

He is the founder chairman of both the Thurrock Bangladesh Welfare Association and the Thurrock Islamic Educational Cultural Centre.

Mr Ali is also the general secretary of the Castle Point Bangladeshi Education and Cultural Centre, as well as governor of the Hajji Soyed Ali Primary School and the chairman of the advisory committee of the Essex Bangladesh Welfare Association.

He is also chairman of the Interim Committee Arbitrator and former treasurer of the Balagonj Education Trust, which aims to provide life skills and much needed education to disadvantaged children in Bangladesh.

He said “It is a great pleasure to receive this award from the Channel S team.

“This award is a great honour, not only for me, but for the British Bangladeshi community.

“It is a reflection of our past, present and future. Without our forefathers, who struggled hand-to-mouth to provide for their families, we would not be in a position to see British Bangladeshis thrive.

“Today, it is heart-warming to see our children go to university, pursue careers and even enter Parliament as MPs representing our community. This is a proud achievement for British Bangladeshis, which I hope will continue in the future.”

Channel S is a Sky TV channel targeting the British Bangladeshi community.

Mr Ali’s award was presented to him by mayor of Tower Hamlets, Abdullah Salique.