Tributes to ‘devoted’ dad killed in crash

Syed Murtaza Hussain pictured with son Hur-Ali
Syed Murtaza Hussain pictured with son Hur-Ali
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Tributes have been paid to a Preston cricketer who has died aged 28 in an accident abroad.

Syed Murtaza Hussain, a married father-of-one from William Henry Street, Fishwick, died after the car he was travelling in overturned in Pakistan on Wednesday.

He had been in the country for a week to attend a cousin’s wedding, and had been due to fly home the day after the crash.

Mr Hussain worked as a self-employed delivery driver and was well-known in the city community, having played for Preston Cricket Club for nine years.

His brother, Syed Mustafa Hussain, 32, said: “He was my little brother, but like my big brother because he was so grown up, he had a good job, he was married, had a mortgage, and a two-year-old son.

“He loved organising stuff and was the person behind the first march down New Hall Lane for Shia Muslims a few years ago.

“He was a devoted dad too. He spoilt his son Hur-Ali rotten.

“Before he went out, he promised him that he’d be back soon, and it’s so heart-wrenching that he won’t be.”

Mustafa said Murtaza had been travelling back from a mosque near Lahore with two cousins on Wednesday when their car hit a speed bump and rolled over four times.

He said: “Murtaza was sitting behind the driver and his side took all the impact; he died pretty much there and then along with our 18-year-old cousin Itisham.

“Nobody can believe it. I feel like a piece of my heart is missing, and I can’t imagine what my mum and dad are going through.”

Murtaza’s parents, Syed Ibtida and Syed Khalida Hussain, travelled out to Pakistan after the accident, along with Murtaza’s wife Rani, his 
sister Yaseen Fatima, 34, and his brother Mujtava.

On Thursday, a funeral was held in Pakistan, attended by more than 3,000 people.

Mustafa said the family had been overwhelmed by support from friends and family, some travelling from as far as Glasgow and London to pay their respects.

He added: “The beautiful thing about it is that it’s brought everyone together, and people have been so supportive, especially our aunties.

“People I haven’t seen since school have turned up at our house, they’re devastated.”

Mustafa said his brother, a former pupil of Deepdale Primary School and Archbishop Temple, was “cheeky and got on with everyone”.

He said: “He was always happy and wanted to please, and he was very forward and very ambitious. We’d been talking about opening a business together and he wanted to build a house in Pakistan.

“I’m going to take over sorting everything out now for him.”

Tributes have also been paid by members of Preston Cricket Club.

Club chairman Younis Patel said: “Everyone involved in the cricket club is devastated by the news.

“Murtaza was a very passionate player and a valuable member of the second team, and was on the verge of making the first team.

“He was one of the guys who would try and get a six off the first ball - he was very, very passionate about the sport.”

He added: “He was a very popular member of the club and always had something to say.”

Club president Clive Henderson said: “He never stopped smiling. It’s such a terrible shame and it will take us all a long time to get used to the news.”