“WHEN my dad moved here to work in the mills in 1962, I didn’t even know where England was on the map,” said Solly Adam this week, at his home in Cowper Street, Savile Town. “And look at this – next week I’m going to meet the Queen!”
The popular Dewsbury businessman, as familiar a face and name as there is in local cricket circles, can barely believe that he has received an invitation to a garden party at Buckingham Palace next Wednesday.
And the good news has spread far beyond Savile Town. Sonica, a fashion firm in the Adam home city of Surat in Gujarat, immediately set about designing and making a special dress for Solly’s wife Maryam to wear on their special occasion.
Maryam is pleased enough, but the joy on Solly’s face is like that of a child at Christmas.
“When I came here in 1963, following my dad, and went to the old Victoria School, England became my home,” said the owner of Solly Sports, who worked in the mills like his father, before setting up his own business as a motor mechanic and petrol station owner who was “open all hours”.
He considers himself a true patriot who supports England at cricket and football.
“The moment I landed here, I accepted England as my country,” he said. Certainly his adopted county has plenty to thank Solly for.
One of the best connected people in cricket, in 1991 Solly convinced ‘the little master’ Sachin Tendulkar to come and play for Yorkshire. The cricket club got a house for Tendulkar, but he preferred staying with Solly, Maryam and their growing family. Their three sons now run businesses alongside their father’s and live in adjacent houses to their parents in Cowper Street.
Solly played his beloved cricket for 40 years and Solly Sports has sponsored virtually every league and cup competition across West Yorkshire. As much as cricket is his business, he has always given massively back – possibly why he got his surprise invite.
“This invitation was a complete and total surprise. Absolutely unexpected,” he added. “But what an honour – we’re going to meet the Queen!”
He was nominated for the invite by the office of the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr Ingrid Roscoe, and is going to arrange to be driven down to Buckingham Palace – but he and Maryam won’t be staying in London.
“We have to get back,” he added. “There’s always lots of work to do!”