Bradford solicitor who has dedicated life to helping home city awarded honorary doctorate by University
Ruby Bhatti OBE was given the accolade following decades of "unstinting" work in the city sitting on several boards and trusts alongside hours of pro bono legal work.
The 50-year-old has 27 years of legal experience under her belt – 25 of which she has worked in a dizzying array of non-executive directorships in the housing, education, youth and health sectors.
She paid tribute to her home city on Wednesday following the announcement from the University, which she has supported since 2007.
Ms Bhatti said: “Being born and raised in Bradford, it's so important to me to be able to put something back into the community and to help young people gain the kind of opportunities I had when growing up.
“The award recognised all my hard work and achievements that I have done for both the University and for my city.
"It is a true honour to accept the award from an education institute which has supported and given opportunities to thousands of students who have completed their degrees here, pursued great professions, and placed the University on the map in many sectors.”
Earlier this year, she was announced as a member of the Bradford Hall of Fame alongside names including Baroness Barbara Castle, playwright Andrea Dunbar and comedian Ade Edmondson.
Among her current roles in the city, Ms Bhatti s chair of the Wolfson Centre for Applied Research, Deputy Lay chair for Bradford District & Craven Clinical Commissioning Group, a trustee for Bradford Youth Development Board, chair at three primary schools and a secondary school, and is National Leader for Governance for Education for Yorkshire and the Humber.
She said: “Bradford is a great city with great people and huge potential and I want to do all I can to facilitate that. Wherever I travel in the world, whenever I return to Bradford, it’s with a sense of relief. This city has so much to offer.
“As a youngster, my parents placed a great onus on education and that’s why I am so passionate about giving young people the opportunities they deserve. To the students of today, I would say no matter what obstacles come in your way, never give up. It does not matter where you come from, what background you are, if you want to achieve anything in your life you can do it.”
It was always her late father, Khalid’s, dream to see her become a solicitor, a dream which was realised in July 1997. Both her parents were inspirations in her life - her father, a hardworking electrical engineer who on one occasion went from his hospital bed to help restore electricity to a local business and her mother, whose hard work and diligence saw her six children achieve their goals in life.
Commenting on her pro bono work, she said: “It is a privilege in the legal profession to be able to offer pro bono work to those who are disadvantaged, being an advocate for those who do not have a voice, making a change to the system and to people’s lives.
“In the legal profession, I have the ability to help others. The feeling of accomplishment defending those who are innocent is amazing. As a solicitor, it has also opened doors for me to other sectors as a non-executive director.”
She added: “I am where I am today because of my husband and daughter. They are my inspiration and they have supported me at every turn, whether that meant me going to meetings in the evening, weekends or early in the morning.
“What excites me for the future is that I can continue to give support to people in all walks of life and make a difference to their lives.”
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