An OSWESTRY restauranteur has dedicated his Queen’s Honour to those who have supported him over the past four decades in the town.

George Miah, of Simla Restaurant in Beatrice Street, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community.

Mr Miah, who opened the restaurant in 1976, is well-known for his community and charity efforts over the years.

After hearing that he was set to receive the award, Mr Miah thanked his customers. and all who have supported him over the years, and said the award is theirs.

He said: “I want to thank the people behind the scenes who nominated me – I’m sure they’ll know who they are.

“I would like to thank them for what they have done.

“The medal is not mine, it is the community’s – I am the recipient, but it belongs to the people who donated, to put me where I am.

“This restaurant, if nobody comes here, I would not be here in the town. It is the customers who keep me and my business going, I am grateful to them all.”

“And I am also grateful to my friends and family for their help and support as well.”

Originally from Wellington, Mr Miah moved to Oswestry at the age of 21 to set up his restaurant.

He said support for his restaurant grew quickly in the area, something he remains very grateful for.

Along with his customers, Mr Miah fundraises for local causes, including; Hope House Children’s Hospice, Severn Hospice, Macmillan nurses, Midlands Air Ambulance, Help for Heroes, Derwen College, and Gobowen Orthopaedic Hospital among other local charities.

His donation work does not stop at that, as he has also given money to more specific local fundraisers, as well as making donations in aid of people abroad, including in his home country of Bangladesh.

Being the living Bangladeshi who has lived in Shropshire longest, having been in the county for 52 years, Mr Miah has also been chairman of the Bangladeshi Welfare Society in Shropshire for 18 years.

The society, of which he is a founding member, helped to find a place for worship in Shrewsbury.

He has also been the North Wales and Chester member of the Greater Sylhet Development and Welfare Council in UK for the past 25 years.

The council helps to raise money for the Bangladeshi community abroad.

Mr Miah added: “Once a year, on the anniversary of the restaurant which is May 24, I close the restaurant for normal service and open it exclusively for charities which book tickets and come for a night of food and entertainment.

“We raise up to around £3,000 on those nights, with the money going to local charities. Above all, it is the local people who support the business and charity nights and donate the money who are responsible for the support we are able to give to charities.”

“Really, I am the recipient, and it is my punters who have put me where I am. As long as the money is going to a good cause I am happy.

“The money goes to causes here first, because Oswestry is my home, the people here have looked after my business and my family for many years.”

Mr Miah insists he had no idea he had been nominated to receive a Queen’s Honour, and is overwhelmed to have been selected.

“It is absolutely amazing,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting anything like this, especially from as high up as it has come from.

“I nearly collapsed when I read the email, I thought it was a scam at first.

“It said I had been nominated by people from the local area, and when I showed my son, he had a smirk on his face as though he knew about it already.

“I rang up the honours office to find out the authenticity of the email and I was told it was genuine that I had been nominated.

“Then a few weeks ago I had an email to say I had been selected and that the award would be publicly announced on October 9, so I had to keep quiet about it until then.

“It was quite difficult to not tell anyone about it but I kept myself busy to take my mind off it.

“The prospect of meeting Her Majesty the Queen is very exciting, but I think with the pandemic, going to Buckingham Palace to receive the award may not happen.

“But to receive it regardless it absolutely amazing and a great honour.”