Family pay touching tribute to one of Stevenage’s longest serving cabbies
- Credit: Archant
The family of one of Stevenage’s longest serving taxi drivers has paid a touching tribute to his life.
Mr Munshi Khan, otherwise known as ‘Papa’, passed away on July, 28, surrounded by loved ones.
Mr Khan, a lifelong Ahmadi Muslim and local taxi driver of more than 30 years, died peacefully at his home, with his children and grandchildren present.
A father of eight, Mr Khan had a number of underlying health conditions, but was discharged from hospital after making a brief recovery from a heart attack he suffered earlier this year.
Born in the then British-administered state of Kashmir in 1936, he was forced to move at 11 years old, when Pakistan and India split in 1947.
He settled with his family in the Kolti region, before arriving Great Britain with his brother as a fresh-faced 22-year-old in 1958.
Coming from humble beginnings, Mr Khan came to post-war Britain seeking work and a better life for his family and their future.
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Stevenage, the UK’s first ‘New Town’, was in full flow – with the town abuzz with activity and plenty of work.
Housing developers craved labourers, and after tolling on the Pin Green and St Nicholas sites, Mr Khan moved on to working in the town’s many industrial factories.
He would work at Mentmor, Platinum and Go and Geo. W Kings as supervisor and foreman, helping fellow Asians get employment and start a new life.
Throughout his years, he remained steadfast in his devotion to Islam, becoming the head of the first local Ahmadiyya group in 1985 – leading a small group of family worshippers which today has more than 350 members.
But it was his devotion to the local community as a taxi driver that would turn out to be Mr Khan’s dream job.
He started driving in the town in 1982, for Parkers Taxis before turning to his own firm, Ace Taxis, 25 years ago.
He loved his job, often saying it “never felt like work” when he was driving in his hometown of 50 years.
Charitable until the end, Mr Khan never forgot his roots and helped all those in need he left behind in Pakistan.
And, with his advice, Ace Taxis continues to support local events, homeless shelters, Garden House Hospice and Humanity First projects.
He survived his first major stroke in 2007, but he finally gave into his deteriorating health, and hung up his cab keys for good in 2014.
Mr Khan’s family would like to pay tribute to all the staff at the Lister’s AMU, renal wards and District Nurses, who went above and beyond in recent weeks attending to his personal and medical needs.
One of his many grandchildren, Aansah Rehman, was so overwelmed with her ‘Papa’s’ generosity she set up a Gofundme.com page – which has already quadrupled its initial £500 target.
His older grandchildren made full use of lockdown with a tribute to their late grandfather by writing, performing and producing an album called ‘KHAN’, that is dedicated to his life.
Cllr Michael Downing from SBC also sent condolences saying: “He was a good friend and neighbour for many years. He will be missed.”