Tributes paid to co-founder of popular Birmingham Mega Mela

Tributes have been paid to the co-founder of a popular festival regularly attended by tens of thousands of people.

Mohammed Saleem, 53, who helped launched Birmingham's Mega Mela, died at the weekend.

The Alum Rock taxi driver is survived by his wife and five children.

Shaukat Mahmood, Mr Saleem's best friend and chair of the Mega Mela, said the news was yet to sink in. Mr Saleem had suffered a cardiac arrest.

The pair grew up in the same neighbourhood and launched the event almost ten years ago.

The festival, held in Ward End Park, now sees more than 10,000 people turn out each year.

Mr Mahmood, 52, said he lived a short drive away from Mr Saleem's home and was by his side as medical staff attempted to resuscitate him.

He described his friend as a family man who cared about his community and would leave a massive hole in the lives of those who knew him.

"If anyone who he knew was in trouble he would go out of his way to help," Mr Mahmood said.

"He was at the forefront of any event in the community."

Tribute page

The grieving friend added Mr Saleem's family could be proud of the legacy he had left behind.

"He was also a very well-known taxi driver over in Castle Vale," Mr Mahmood said.

"Galaxy Cars where he worked has opened a tribute page and thousands of people have made comments."

Birmingham Mega Mela was launched in 2014 to help improve engagement around inner-city communities.

Despite being cancelled twice during the pandemic, it continues to be one of the largest free events in the West Midlands.