A BUSINESSMAN has been awarded an outstanding contribution award for his work in the catering industry.

Muhammad Siraj Ali, owner of the Maharaja restaurant, London Road, Benfleet, was granted the award by the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who, an annual publication naming the most influential members of the Bangladeshi community in Britain.

Over the past 20 years, Mr Ali, of Scratton Road, Stanford-le-Hope, has helped raise close to £2million for charities such as Multiple Sclerosis Society, NSPCC and British Red Cross by hosting charity nights at the restaurant.

Mr Ali, who is also the general secretary of the Castle Point Bangladeshi Education and Cultural Centre, said: “This award is a great honour, not only for me, but for all the people who have been through hardships and come to this country and made a name for themselves.”

Mr Ali’s award was presented to him by the deputy mayor of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Ohid Ahmed.