21st Apr, 2021

Rugby's longest-serving councillor awarded honorary doctorate degree

RUGBY’S longest-serving councillor has been awarded an honorary doctorate degree in acknowledgment of his services for Pakistan.

Dr James Shera, who has represented Benn Ward on Rugby Borough Council since 1981, received the degree in Arts and Letters from Forman Christian College in Lahore, the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab.

During the university’s virtual graduation ceremony, guest of honour His Excellency Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, Governor of the Punjab, congratulated Coun Shera – who became the first Pakistani to serve as Mayor of Rugby in 1988, and only the second of his countrymen to become a Mayor in the UK.

Coun Shera addressed the ceremony and thanked the Patron and the Board of Governors for the honour.

He became the first Rugby Borough councillor to reach ten terms – and the longest-serving Pakistani councillor in the UK – when he was re-elected in 2018.

In 1992, he was awarded the Star of Pakistan by the country’s President for services to community and interfaith relations – the only recipient of the honour to live outside Pakistan.

He was awarded an MBE in 2007.

In April 2017 he was made an Honorary Freeman of Rugby Borough, the highest honour available to a borough councillor, for his outstanding contribution to interfaith and race relations – the first time all three major political parties unanimously seconded the award.

James Shera Way was named after him for his campaigns as chair of council of fellows of Warwickshire College.

Coun Shera laid the first brick of the Pakistani Community Centre in Rugby. He also helped in the construction of the Rugby Mosque, and a dedicated place for the burial of the Muslim community in Rugby.

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