Yorkshire Choice Awards: Leeds man raised more than £120,000 for charity while working 85 hours a week

From being surrounded by family and loved ones to leading his college football to victory, Tariq Qadeer holds many fond memories of his time in Pakistan.
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He also vividly remembers how his uncle was diagnosed with throat cancer in the early 90s in Kashmir and how the lack of treatment available contributed to his death. “There were no facilities there,” he said. “He came to Rawalpindi, where there was a little hospital and he stayed in our house. It was very, very hard to see him suffering. They put in a tube for him to eat. It was a very miserable life.”

Not long after, his aunt was also diagnosed with cancer and Tariq went on to see her four young children lose their mother to the disease. These memories, along with some encouragement from his wife, led Tariq to participate in his first half-marathon in 2007 for the Imran Khan Cancer Appeal (IKCA), a charity organisation supported by the former prime minister of Pakistan to build more specialist cancer hospitals in the country.

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“Those days, we weren’t very well off, financially, so I couldn’t afford decent running shoes,” said 54-year-old Tariq. “I just found cheap trainers and I didn’t know anything about running. I didn’t know what was involved or how difficult it is. Unfortunately the cheap trainers were hurting both of my big toes and the last hour was really really tough. I didn’t know you were supposed to stretch. I went home, had a shower and the next morning, I couldn’t get out of bed. I was absolutely frozen. After a few days, both my toenails became black and started peeling off.”

Tariq Qadeer, pictured in Bramhope.Tariq Qadeer, pictured in Bramhope.
Tariq Qadeer, pictured in Bramhope.

The next few months would prove uncomfortable for Tariq, but this experience did not deter him from participating in more challenges. Ending his time as a menswear sales assistant in Marks & Spencers, Tariq bought his own shop, Village Newsagents, in Bramhope. He also continued to spend his free time completing half-marathons each year, while hosting other fundraisers such as pub quizzes for many different charities.

"It has been amazing organising these events,” said Tariq. “I don’t know, I just like it. Being involved, organising events, getting people on, taking people there. Working so many long hours – 85 hours a week, I don’t know how I managed it.”

Over the years, Tariq has raised more than £20,000 for IKCA and was named the charity’s volunteer of the year in 2019 for his efforts. That same year, the Team Bramhope runners brought together by Tariq were named team of the year by Candlelighters. The Leeds-based children’s cancer charity has received more than £60,000 in donations from Tariq and his fellow runners.

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The newsagents that Tariq owns has allowed him to reach a greater number of people in his local community and raising thousands of pounds for any cause is “no problem now, thanks to the fantastic people” in the area. Despite this, the 54-year-old is looking to pass the baton on to someone else who could lead and organise the charity work.

Tariq started raising money for Candlelighters after his nephew received a prognosis that he would die from cancer and Candlelighters paid his nephew a visit.Tariq started raising money for Candlelighters after his nephew received a prognosis that he would die from cancer and Candlelighters paid his nephew a visit.
Tariq started raising money for Candlelighters after his nephew received a prognosis that he would die from cancer and Candlelighters paid his nephew a visit.

“I think I have done a little bit for my community, I have been involved with lots of charities,” he said. “Running this shop on my own has been the most difficult. The hardest thing for me was not being able to have time for myself or my family. In the last 15 years, we have only been on one family holiday together which hurts sometimes. I only have one day off in the whole year and that is Christmas Day, it is not easy. People take it for granted – they have weekends off, they go on holidays. My mum is getting old and she has a few health issues and in the last seven years, I have only been twice to see her.”

He added: “It’s been great – the past 12-13 years, I think it’s a long time. If I keep doing this, although I love doing this, I love being in the community, I love helping people, I am going to have some serious health issues. I have been to hospitals, hospices, their homes, funerals and more to see my customers. I think the time has come to look after myself.”

Tariq is currently in the running for two Yorkshire Choice Awards after being shortlisted in the volunteer and business of the year categories for raising more than £120,000 for many different charities. He is hosting another run, Tariq’s Team Bramhope 10k, on April 30 and donations can be given through their JustGiving page.

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