A CEREMONY has taken place to mark 31 years of service by a priest to the Thurrock community.
Cllr Qaisar Abbas organised the special event to pay tribute to Rachhpal Singh, priest of the Grays Gurdawars Sikh Temple.
The brief ceremony was attended by Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr Terry Piccolo, PC Lowrie of Essex Police, Mr Joglur Rahman, Assistant Secretary of Thurrock Islamic Education & Cultural Association, and Mrs Balwinder Kaur.
Cllr Piccolo and Cllr Abbas presented an Appreciation Award to Mr Singh in recognition of his services to the local Sikh community.
Cllr Piccolo said: “I woukd like to acknowledge all the work that Mr Singh has done over the past 31 years. I am sure he will carry on the fine work he is doing.”
Mr Singh thanked Cllr Abbas for organising this ceremony and said: “I feel honoured to receive this award. I always preach message of peace, love and cohesion. Thurrock is my home and people of Thurrock are very close to my heart and are always in my daily prayers.”
In his speech, Mr Rahman said: “Gianai Rachhpal Singh has a very dynamic personality. He is a symbol of togetherness and respected by all religions.”
Cllr Abbas thanked all the guests and said “Giani Rachhpal Singh has always welcomed me and other people of different faiths or no faiths with open arms in his Gurdawara. His services to local Sikh community are unparalleled. He is a pillar of interfaith harmony in Thurrock.”
Mr Singh joined Grays Gurdawara on 7th July 1989 as a Priest and is still leading the daily prayers in the Gurdawara. He also regularly visits local hospitals and Chelmsford prison for spiritual healing.