An entrepreneur who helped bring Aldershot Town Football Club out of administration has been named in the top 100 happy people in the country.
The Independent on Sunday published the list of individuals who make our world a more positive place to be and Shahid Azeem, businessman and chairman of the football club, was delighted to be singled out for his work.
He was given the title of ‘community galvaniser’ and readers nominated Mr Azeem for helping to rescue the club, along with his work mentoring start-up businesses.
Across Surrey he also gives his time to a number of organisations.
He is a patron of the Surrey Law Centre, sits on the board for Sporting Equals and the British Pakistan Foundation and is the founder of the Woking Asian Business Forum.
He works in development for the Community Foundation for Surrey and for the past 10 years has played a key role in the fundraising for the Rotary Club of Guildford District.
And he is an ambassador for the charity Mosaic, which inspires young people to realise their talents and potential.
Mr Azeem, 54, said: “I had a call from the Independent on Sunday and I thought they were selling me advertising.
“Quickly I realised they weren’t selling advertising and the guy calling said I had been listed by a number of people to be in the Happy List. He said they were phoning because they couldn’t find a picture of me being happy so they wanted to organise that.”
The call came out of the blue for Mr Azeem, who owns the firm Arcom IT.
He added: “I was surprised but I was pleased that somebody actually took the time to nominate me.
“I don’t know who they were but I would like to thank them. This is about celebrating helping people and it has a feel-good factor.
“Looking at the list there are probably millions of other people who do a lot more than I have ever probably done but it is nice to be acknowledged.”
Mr Azeem, who is also the deputy lieutenant for Surrey, said the 100 individuals will be invited to a dinner to recognise their success.
He credits his good nature and drive to help others from his grandfather, Captain Fazal Dad, who was always willing to lend a hand, back in his native Pakistan.
He added: “If you can help people it is a fantastic thing. With Aldershot Football Club it wasn’t just me, it was a consortium of people who helped save the club.
“That club means so much to the community.”
So does Mr Azeem see himself as a happy person?
“I count myself as an extremely privileged person in terms of friends and health.
“Each day is a different day for me and when I see, without sounding arrogant, the life changes and challenges other people face every day, then I’m extremely thankful and lucky,” he said.