More than £2,500 collected in memory of a popular Maidenhead Rotarian and restaurateur will be used to create a lasting legacy to him by a charity close to his heart.
The money was raised following the death from Covid-19 in February of Himanshu Patel, known to everyone as Harry, owner of Gourmet Chicken in the town centre.
It will be used to create and equip a kitchen in a building being renovated as a Women’s Wellness Centre in Kadapa, a small mining town in Andhra Pradesh, India. The project is run by the Aarti Children’s Home, which provides a home and education for orphaned, abandoned and abused children. The charity also runs training programmes promoting health and hygiene in its community.
It is regularly supported by Maidenhead Rotary Club, of which Himanshu was a long-serving and active member and he had met representatives from Aarti when they visited Maidenhead several years ago.
Called ‘Himanshu/Harry’s Kitchen’, the project will open in July and provide training in cooking and nutrition to both young people from Aarti and women in the wider community. In addition, part of the half-acre site around the building will become ‘Himanshu/Harry’s Garden’, growing organic vegetables for the kitchen and to support nutrition and education in sustainability.
His wife Alka said: “It was wonderful that people donated money and Himanshu would be proud there is going to be a kitchen in his name and that his legacy will continue.
“He was always putting other people before himself and would be amazed and honoured that this will improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls.”
She added: “I hope our children and I can one day go out and see it for ourselves. Himanshu loved to share his passion for cooking. It’s a shame he won’t be there to impart his cooking skills himself but it’s so nice to know that his passion will live on.”
Maidenhead Rotary Club president Mary Spinks said: “Aarti has already made a big difference to children’s lives. This memorial to Harry is very appropriate as one of the last things he did was to organise and finance meals for less well-off children during half-term. He was a true Rotarian and his lifetime work in catering means he would have very much approved of this project.”