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 17th of November 1963. It was a dark, dull, wet, cold and foggy night, as a British Midland plane (a local flight from London) touched down at Leeds Bradford Airport. It was the last flight from London and there were very few passengers on board. I was the only Asian passenger who came out of that plane. While I was following other passengers towards the exit sign, I felt very strongly that I was thousands of miles away from my homeland and loved ones, in this foreign country, among strange faces and unfamiliar culture. Like a bolt of lightning these thoughts went through my mind and suddenly I started feeling uncomfortable and home sick. But before it could get any worse, I was out of the airport building where my uncle Mr Noor Alam (a very close friend of my father) was waiting for me. Leeds Bradford Airport was a very small building compared to today. Soon after I met my uncle, we were in the car and on our way to Dewsbury. It was very long and tiresome journey. Unlike today there were no direct flights from Pakistan. By the time I arrived at my destination in Dewsbury, I was half a sleep and dying to go to bed. But there were so many people (friends of my uncle) waiting for me that I had to spend some time with them before I could go to sleep.

The next morning when I got up, my breakfast was ready. After finishing my breakfast my uncle took me to the Labour Exchange Office, now known as "Job Centres", to get me registered for my National Insurance number. For the next two weeks I was resting. My uncle thought that I needed this rest before starting my job, because once I started the job then there would be no time for rest.

My first job was at Matchel Brothers, a small mill right in the heart of Dewsbury town centre, next to the Market Place, where I worked for six months. For the next two years I worked in Ossett, Thomas Burnley Gomersall and finally ended up at T F Firth Flush Mills, Heckmondwike. This was my last job before I started my own business. August 1964 my brother Parvaiz arrived from Pakistan, and then on 5th May 1965 my wife also arrived from Pakistan. I must mention that my wife was the first Asian woman in Heckmondwike. Heckmondwike will always remain close to my heart, and so will the people of this town. A small place, but great people to live with. Very loving, kind, helpful and co-operative.

In 1967 I started my first business as a Hackney Carriage operator from Heckmondwike. I was a Labour voter, but it was the Conservative led Council who granted me the License, making me the first Asian Hackney Carriage operator in Heckmondwike, and surrounding towns like Cleckheaton, Mirfield, Batley, Morley and Dewsbury etc. By the 1970s my firm "Kashmir Taxis" was the largest Taxi firm in Heckmonwike. I was known to my customers as Mr Kashmir and my wife as Mrs Kashmir.

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