THE proud son of a newsagents whose hard work has led to all of his children becoming key workers is thanking him – and the St Helens community - for making it happen.

In recent months we have had to rely on our key workers to help us during this pandemic.

This includes the NHS staff who have been on the frontline of this fight against coronavirus.

Well four of key workers have been able to help the nation say it is down to the tireless hard work of one man - Rashid Patel, who left India and his profession cricketing career in 2008 to give his children a chance of a better education.

St Helens Star:

Rashid Patel - owner of Alpha News in the Hardshaw and proud dad of four keyworker children

Rashid, who owns Alpha News in the Hardshaw Centre, is well known to many who visit St Helens town centre for his friendly smile.

However, this shop has not only served the community, it has also helped to put three children to go on to work in the NHS and another to become a teacher - all crucial in the current crisis.

St Helens Star:

Zafir, 28 

His son Zafir, who is a specialist Aseptic Pharmacist based at North Manchester General and Royal Oldham Hospital, said: "I am one of four, and two of my sisters work within the NHS.

"One as a paediatric nurse and the other as an audiologist and my other sister works as a teacher at a high school.

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"The reason for all of us reaching our dreams and being able to help others is down to two things really - my dad and the St Helens community.

"My dad was a professional cricketer in India, but he wanted us to have more opportunities so moved to England leaving everything he knew.

"He opened up Alpha News in 2008 and has worked so hard for all of us, and the St Helens community supported him.

"We grew up from working part-time in the shop when in school to now being on the frontlines in hospitals and in school.

St Helens Star:

Sumaiya Patel, 25 is a paediatric audiologist

"The support of the people of St Helens has allowed has allowed myself and my siblings to pursue our dreams to serve the people and during this Covid crisis more than ever I am grateful to the people of St Helens for their support of my father's small business over the past 10 years that enabled our father to fund our studies.

St Helens Star:

Sufiya Patel, 22, is a paediatric nurse in training

"I and my siblings all feel proud to give something however small back to the people in a time when across the country people have made the ultimate sacrifice.

"Even when I found out I got into universaity, people came in to congratulate me, this is the community who had our backs when we arrived and up to today.

St Helens Star:

Saleha Patel, 26, is a full time high school teacher

"I'm so proud of my dad and so grateful to the community of St Helens for supporting the shop so our dad could get us to where we all are now - which is helping others.

"So thank you St Helens."