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FIRST MINISTER JOINS TRIBUTES TO SCOTTISH CURRY PIONEER


Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond was one of a number of leading politicians and public figures who recently paid tribute to Britannia Spice founder and multiple BCA award winner, Dr Wali Tasar Uddin MBE, at the launch of his biography, written by the journalist AFM Sayeed. Addressing the assembled guests, Alex Salmond said, “In Scotland we pride ourselves in having concern for the common weal, the welfare of others. Few people in Scotland exemplify that concern more than Wali. As a businessman, a community leader and a humanitarian, he has been an inspiration.“


The First Minister attracted some criticism locally for attending the event as he missed House of Lords hearings into Scottish Independence. However his office said it was entirely right and proper that he should mark such an impor- tant occasion with his presence.


Wali Uddin took pride of place at the launch of the new book, which was held in front of 150 invited dignitaries at the Britannia Spice in Leith. He was seated at the top table with the First Minister, External Affairs and International Development Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP, Sir Tom Farmer CBE and Chief Constable David Strang, among others. Various speakers praised the contribution Wali has made in advancing relations between Bangladesh and Scotland, his many charitable works as well as his pioneering role in devel- oping the curry restaurant business north of the border.


Guests were welcomed by a traditional Scottish bagpiper and members of Dr Uddin’s family dressed in the national dress of Bangladesh.


Having been educated in Moulvibazzar, Wali traveled to the UK in 1967 where he started working in restaurants in London and entered further education. In 1976, having gained sound experience in the catering profession, he moved to Edinburgh.


As Chairman of the Bangladesh-British Chamber of Commerce, Dr Uddin was key player in the success of Expo Bangladesh 2005 - the UK`s first single country trade fair for Bangladesh. This pioneering initiative by the BBCC was to promote trade and investment between the UK and Bangladesh. A hundred companies from Bangladesh were represented alongside UK-based organisations with an interest in Bangladesh`s export trade and non-resident Bangladeshi businesses in the UK. Now the Chamber is expanding its interest into other European countries under Dr Uddin’s leadership.


In Bangladesh, Dr Uddin`s efforts have touched thousands of people over the years. In 1991, for example, follow- ing the disastrous cyclone, he was instrumental in raising over £140,000 which was used to build a concrete cyclone shelter and Baharchara-Ratnapur High School. Then in 1998 he was involved in raising over £220,000 to enable Onneyshan to oversee the construction of a model village and training centre. Dr Uddin is also Director and Chief Co-ordi- nator of the Sylhet Women’s Medical College and Hospital, a Trustee of the Bangladesh Female Academy and an advisor to the Atish Dipankar University of Science & Technologies in Dhaka.


Proceeds from the sale of the biography, ‘Wali Uddin - Blessed Son of Two Nations’, will go to the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed, a charity was founded in 1979 by Valerie Taylor OBE and a small group of Bangladeshi people.


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