THE work of people who have made outstanding contributions to the life of the borough was recognised at a Civic Awards ceremony last week.

From a road sweeper to a multi-millionaire philanthropist, figures from across the community were awarded with framed certificates by the Mayor of Barnet, councillor John Marshall, on Wednesday night.

The seven recipients were wittled down from a list of 50 people nominated by residents.

Benjamin Perl, an educational philanthropist who has helped set up around 20 schools, was recognised for his charitable work and outstanding contribution to education.

Mr Perl, of Brent Street, Hendon, described himself as having been at “the forefront” of establishing new Jewish faith schools in the UK for the past 38 years.

He said: “Most of my achievements have been in Barnet. I have opened six or seven primary schools in Barnet and I have moved another six from private education to the state sector.

“My biggest achievement is changing the attitude of Anglo-Jewry and promoting Jewish day schools to become schools of first priority.

“The Jewish community is suffering from rampant assimilation and the only way to fight it is to put Jewish education into the next generation of children to make sure the Jewish nation survives.

He said that he wants to build another ten shools to fight the “rampant assimilation” of the Jewish community, at least half of them in the borough of Barnet.

Mohammed Alauddin Ahmed was rewarded for his dedication to community cohesion, as the founder of the Barnet Bangladeshi Community Association (BBCA).

Mr Ahmed, 72, of Strawberry Vale, East Finchley, has a history of community work dating back more than three decades with the immigrant Bagladeshi community.

“It was a very pleasant evening,” he said. “I was delighted to receive the award and it encourages the community to do more to engage for the betterment of us all.”

There are more than 6,000 Bangladeshi people working or living in the borough and around 45 Bangladeshi restaurants.

The BBCA, established in 1997 and based in Strawberry Vale, helps Bangladeshi migrants settle into the area by accessing services, as well as running supplementary classes for children in both Bangladeshi and Arabic.

“We set up the association to promote awareness of racial equality and tackle poverty,” added Mr Ahmed. “Bangladeshis are newcomers to the borough and things can be very difficult when you move to a new place. We can help them with everyday life.

“Our aim is social peace and justice. We try our level best to interact with other communities and these kind of events are very important in promoting that.”

The five other winners were: Brian Hartigan, in recognition of his dedication and outstanding contribution to education.

Annie McGarry, in recognition of her outstanding service and consistent support to generations of parishioners of St Edward the Confessor RC Church.

Ronald Pullen, in recognition of his commitment and outstanding work to the community as an afternoon town centre street sweeper Dorothy Wilkinson, in recognition of her outstanding commitment and service as a school governor.

Carmel Smedley, in recognition of her enormous support and dedication to the North London Hospice since 1991.