Today, we mourn the loss of James Masih Shera, a distinguished politician, educationist, and the former Mayor of Rugby. Born in a small rural village in Pakistan, Shera’s life was a testament to his unwavering commitment to public service and community welfare.
Career Highlights: In 1988, James Shera achieved a historic milestone, becoming the first Pakistani to be elected Mayor of Rugby. His leadership extended beyond this role, as he served as the leader of the Labour Group in Rugby from 2005 to 2022. Additionally, he chaired the Overview and Scrutiny Board at Rugby Borough Council from 2010 to 2014, leaving an indelible mark on local governance.
Noteworthy Achievements: Shera’s contributions were not confined to the political realm; he garnered recognition and accolades for his exceptional service:
- In 1992, he received the Sitara-e-Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan.
- His dedication to the National Health Service (NHS) and Midlands communities earned him the prestigious MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2007.
- A road in Rugby bears the name ‘James Shera Way,’ a fitting tribute to his tireless advocacy as chair of the council of fellows of Warwickshire College.
- The University of Bedfordshire honored him in 2010 with an honorary doctorate of Business and Administration.
- In 2017, he was bestowed with the “Freedom of the Borough of Rugby,” a testament to the profound impact of his service.
- Forman Christian College University, Lahore, Pakistan, recognized his contributions with an honorary PhD in Arts & Letters in 2021.
- In March 2023, he received the Quaid-e-Azam Hilal Award from the President of Pakistan.
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said: “James Masih Shera’s legacy is marked by a lifetime of selfless dedication, distinguished leadership, and a profound impact on the communities he served. As we bid farewell, we remember a remarkable individual who made a lasting difference in the lives of many. May his soul rest in peace.”