SURINDER Singh Saimbhi, a prominent and well respected member of the Sikh community in Leeds, HAS passed away after a short illness. He was 70.
Affectionately referred to by many as “Shinde”, he was born in Eldoret, Kenya, where he grew up and studied. His early life was spent in Kenya and his first job was with the East African Railways.
This work gave him the opportunity to work in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Wherever he went, he made many friends and people were always drawn to his warm and sincere personality. He maintained his friendships and remained in contact with them throughout his life. After leaving the Railway, he also spent some time working at The Tea Hotel in Kericho and then at Jones & Jones Solicitors in Nakuru as an accounts manager.
Surinder married his wife Mohinder in 1959 and he brought his family to England in 1974, settling in Leeds.
He continued his work in accounts with Dunlop and Ranken and then with Bass Breweries. He was later transferred to their head office in Burton upon Trent. He retired in 2006 and was commended by his employers for more than 25 years of excellent service.
Throughout his many years in Leeds and Burton, he contributed a vast amount of time to Sewa (voluntary work) for the Sikh community and on many other organisations. He was honoured and invited to speak at the International Ramgharia Sikh Convention in Delhi in 1993.
He believed in team work. It was a philosophy he used to inspire himself and others around him to encourage and develop the community spirit for voluntary work. He worked tirelessly and with dedication. One of his greatest achievements was to play a leading role in the development and construction of the Ramgharia Sikh Sports and Community Centre in Chapeltown Road, Leeds, which had a royal opening in 1987.
His qualities of leadership were also recognised when he joined the Ramgharia Board, Leeds.
In 1988, he was introduced to the Prince of Wales who commended him for his selfless contribution in the construction of the first sports complex to be built in the city by an ethnic minority organisation. He was also introduced to Her Majesty the Queen as well as meeting the then President of Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Mr Saimbhi is survived by his wife, the couple’s three sons, Taljinder, Jaswinder and Parminder, and their daughter Ravinder.
He was a grandfather of eight and could not have been more pleased when he was blessed with a great grandchild, Rajan, who was born on his 70th birthday last year.