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Tribute to ‘father of city’s Sikhs’
Hundreds of people will gather in Southampton next week to remember a former stalwart of the city’s Sikh community.
Friends and family members of Sardar Harnam Singh Roudh will come together at two commemorative services to mark the 25th anniversary of his death.
Worshippers and colleagues will travel from across the country to remember Mr Singh Roudh, at the Gurdwara Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib, in St Mark’s Road.
Mr Singh Roudh was born in Multan, Pakistan and moved to England alone in 1951, bringing with him a holdall of clothes and just £3 in cash.
A few years after his arrival, Mr Singh Roudh’s immediate family joined him and they made their home in Southampton, where his eldest son, Mulkh, became the first turban-wearing Sikh to run a pub in the city, when he took over the New Inn, in Bevois Valley.
Mr Singh Roudh opened Southampton’s first Indian and West Indian Continental store in Derby Road in 1961, before opening the Star of India restaurant, in St Mary’s.
As well as managing his business, Mr Singh Roudh devoted much of his time to Southam-pton’s growing Sikh community.
He was instrumental in opening the Gurdwara Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib, the first ethnic minority place of worship in the city, where he served as general secretary, president and a voluntary priest.
His work led him to become a well-recognised figure and he was described by many as the “father” of the city’s Sikh community.
The Daily Echo described his funeral, in January 1988, as “the biggest funeral Southampton has witnessed”, in an emotional service that contained “all the pomp and ceremony usually reserved for monarchs and civic leaders”.
l Those who knew Mr Singh Roudh are invited to attend a two-day long commemorative service being held in his honour.
The Gurdwara Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib will host the celebration of Mr Singh Roudh’s life from midday on Thursday until the same time on Saturday.
Prayers will be said throughout the 48-hour period, with the gurdwara library hosting a special exhibition into his life and work.