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  • Writer's pictureDan Heley

Behind The Name: Meet Sayd Ahmed

Updated: Jan 16

"My father was a pharmacist and was offered a job working for a US company in Iran, it was such a good opportunity for him and our family, and being from a large family the extra income that came with the job was too hard to turn down. When he said goodbye, I never knew that would be the last time I would see him alive. A year later he died in the 1978 Tabas earthquake, he was one of thousands killed that day.

Life was a struggle for my family after that. Whist my extended family helped the best they could it was a difficult time for my mother with 5 children all under 10yrs old.

At times there was not enough food and essentials to go around. So it was decided in 1982 when I was 8yrs old I would go live with my Uncle in Tower Hamlets in London. I remember taking the journey all on my own which at that age filled me with fear and excitement.

My uncle owned a factory making ladies garments and from the age of 11 I used to work their part-time after I had finished school. It was normal back then for children to work in the family business, to play your part and work together to improve all our lives.

I learnt to take care of myself from an early age as at times my uncle would be out of the country visiting family and this is when I first fell in love with food. I had learnt cooking from a young age as was traditional in my family and I soon realised that cooking was something I had a passion for.

After I left school I worked full-time in the factory undertaking embroidery on the clothes that were being made. However by then it was the late 90's, and I could see that times were changing in British manufacturing and struggled to see this as the right career to pursue.

As the future of the factory became increasingly uncertain I looked for a different path that my future could take. I had a friend who lived in Weston-super-Mare and worked at an Indian restaurant that used to be on Whitecross Road called the Viceroy, he said their was a job going as a waiter and so I packed my bags and headed to the coast; I could never had guessed how significant that decision in my life would have on my future.

At the time there was only about 6 restaurants in Weston and none of them operated an Indian takeaway. I discussed this with my friends who all worked in food and we decided that there was a gap in the market for a new takeaway in the town, so the 4 of us started looking for a place to set up business.

It wasn't easy though. We had to save up to be able to buy all the equipment and materials we needed and almost a year passed until we finally opened the doors to "Pappadoms" in 1997 on Milton Road where it remains to this day.

I didn't know at the time how much of a success it was going to be, but I worked hard and built a team around me to make it what it is today.

I love Weston and I love the community here. I learnt from a young age that helping the community in which you live is the right thing to do. As a Muslim, my religion teaches me that wherever you live it is important to do charitable work, whether that is voluntary, financial or physical, its important to play your part. My business would not be the success it is without the support of the community so I believe strongly that it is my duty to give back to the community which helped make me the man I am today.

If you serve your community to the best of your ability, always stand up against injustice and welcome everyone with open arms, you can't go far wrong."


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1 Comment

Pete McAleer
Pete McAleer
Jan 06

That last sentence is something I committed to believe in. "Humans of Weston"A lovely way of learimng about each other.

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