Obituary: Community in mourning after death of Rugby's longest-serving councillor

“The council intends to fly the borough flag at half-mast on the day of Mr Shera's funeral”
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Tributes have been paid to a beloved former Rugby mayor who dedicated his life to helping others.

Rugby’s longest-serving councillor James Shera MBE, 76, died at the weekend.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘Jim’ was visiting family in his native Pakistan when he passed away.

Dr Jim Shera.Dr Jim Shera.
Dr Jim Shera.

He leaves a wife and son.

Dr Shera dedicated 40 years' service to the borough, first elected to Rugby Borough Council as a Labour councillor in 1982 to represent the Benn Ward.He made history in 1988 when he became the first Pakistani to be elected Mayor of Rugby, and four years later he became one of the first recipients of the prestigious Star of Pakistan, awarded by the president of Pakistan for services to community and interfaith relations.

Dr Shera was made an MBE in 2007 and a decade later was made an Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Rugby - the highest honour the borough council can bestow.

He stood down from the council in 2022.

Born in a small rural village, Dr Shera's journey towards playing a pivotal role in Rugby's public life began when he secured a scholarship to study at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.He hitch-hiked through Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece and Yugoslavia before reaching Italy, where he caught a train to Belgium to start his studies.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Friends in the UK led Dr Shera to England in 1970 and a job at Rugby station as a railway guard. After completing a post-graduate degree at the University of Warwick, he became a teacher at Newbold Middle School, later joining the county council education department where he worked until taking retirement.

In a joint statement, Rugby Borough Council group leaders Cllr Derek Poole (Conservative), Cllr Michael Moran (Labour) and Cllr Jerry Roodhouse (Liberal Democrats) said: "James Shera, or Jim as we came to know him, was greatly respected by councillors on all sides of the chamber and was also a good friend and mentor to many of his council colleagues.

"Jim's hard work and integrity were a constant throughout his 40 years of public service, and we're all truly saddened to hear of his passing.

"Our thoughts remain firmly with Jim's family and friends at this time."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Forman Christian College University, Lahore, Pakistan, recognised his contributions with an honorary PhD in Arts & Letters in 2021.

In March 2023, he received the Quaid-e-Azam Hilal Award from the President of Pakistan.

A road in Rugby bears the name ‘James Shera Way,’ a fitting tribute to his tireless advocacy as chair of the council of fellows of Warwickshire College.

Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said: “James Masih Shera’s legacy is marked by a lifetime of selfless dedication, distinguished leadership, and a profound impact on the communities he served.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"As we bid farewell, we remember a remarkable individual who made a lasting difference in the lives of many.

"May his soul rest in peace.”

The council intends to fly the borough flag at half-mast on the day of Mr Shera's funeral, a date for which has yet to be confirmed.

Related topics: