Husband and wife team Ghulam Farid and Shagufta Shamim ran the Bowhouse Square shop for over 20 years and recently retired, handing over the reins of the business they loved.
The Farid’s selfless commitment to the community during this year’s coronavirus crisis when nothing was too much trouble for them – despite a serious health condition which forced Ghulam’s retirement – obviously drew the attention of the Queen and the powers that be.
The couple’s sons Zain and Mohammed also literally went that extra mile to ensure customers were able to get their hands on essential items at the start of lockdown.
Zain said he was so proud of his parents when he heard the news.
“They are so excited,” he said. “They know what a real privilege it is for them to get this award.”
The Farids have four children – two daughters and two sons – and a granddaughter and grandson.
As well as helping serve the Grangemouth community through good times and bad for two decades, they have helped a number of charities and organisations over the years.
Mr Farid assisted local churches by transporting large items for events like car boot sales and the Bowhouse Newagents has sponsored local primary schools.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic they have also helped local NHS Staff and care homes by supplying PPE equipment and essential food items. Care packages were also delivered within the community to help the elderly and vulnerable during the most difficult days.
Zain said: “As a result of being in the community for many years they have built up a great relationship with the customers and classify many of them as their friends. My parents have been relied upon at times of need by many locals and vice versa – the have never hesitated when it has come to helping the community.
“As a family we have done our utmost to serve the community and help in any way possible. We made up hampers and delivered them to local care homes, offered free home deliveries to customers and extended the shop’s opening hours to make sure everyone had the chance to purchase items.”
Although he has never let it slow him down until recently, Ghulam has chronic kidney disease and is on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. He now receives dialysis three times a week.
Zain said: “My dad has always been a giver, many a times he puts others needs before his own. No matter how big or small. He has worked hard from a young age, coming from hardworking family within the agriculture sector.
“He wants to help everyone he can and try and not let others suffer.”
When her husband’s condition started to mean he had to start slowing down, Shagufta, who has diabetes, took up the slack and worked tirelessly in the newsagents.
Zain said his parents are now waiting to hear just exactly when and how they will be able to receive their well deserved British Empire Medals.