Freda Hussain, who sadly lost her battle with cancer on April 13 aged 69, had been a remarkable and influential figure within the city of Leicester for more than 30 years and will be remembered by many, including the thousands of pupils she taught in her 15 years at the city’s Moat Community College in Highfields, where she transformed this inner-city school into a successful institution. The Ofsted report for the College in 2005 described her as ‘outstanding and inspirational’.
Her dedication and passion for teaching was recognised in 2002, when she was also awarded an MBE for her services to education. In 2004, she was appointed as the first Muslim woman High Sheriff of Leicestershire, a prestigious role and the oldest secular office under the Crown. Two years later Mrs Hussain was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire.
Leicestershire’s Lord Lieutenant Lady Gretton said: “She was the most wonderful person; she had been a deputy lieutenant for a number of years and was always incredibly good and effective in her role.
“She worked so hard at so many things and was the first Asian High Sheriff.
“I know she’s going to be missed by many people and her legacy going forward will live on.”
Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Mrs Hussain moved to the UK in 1963 with her family and went on to complete her A Levels before achieving her first degree at the University of Manchester. It was then that her career in the education sector began. After a year of teaching at Altrincham Girls Grammar School in Cheshire, Freda moved to the United States with her husband for a few years, before the family returned to the UK to settle for a life in Leicester.
Assistant city mayor councillor Manjula Sood said: “I am so sad. This is a great loss to the city.
“She left a great legacy for all women – particularly those from the black minority ethnic (BME) community.”
Pukaar had the honour of meeting and interviewing Hussain for the October-December 2015 edition of Pukaar Magazine, where she shared an inspirational message: “I think the thing in life is to be positive, not to find yourself complaining about who didn’t do what. It should be about what we can do to make this world around us a better place.”
Freda Hussain’s funeral will take place tomorrow April 16. Our sincere condolences go out to all her friends and family.