Everyone has their heroes; people who shape their lives. I am blessed to have many heroes who have influenced my life in many positive ways, and I would like to pay my respects to them here.

Standing light years ahead of the rest are the Manifestations (Prophets) of God, all of Whom endured immense hardship and suffering in order to bring the teachings of God to mankind, and guide it through millennia of growth and change. Their guidance has inspired all who have accepted them. How sad that not everyone has embraced their teachings. How sad that because of this, division and strife have not been eradicated from the world.

All the Manifestations are mentioned in my book, and I make no secret of the fact that Baha’u’llah, the latest of God’s Messengers, has been the driving force and inspiration that led me to write my book. I know that likewise, others have been inspired by following the teachings of the Prophet Whom they have come to love and admire.

‘Abdu’l-Baha, the eldest son of Baha’u’llah, Whom He appointed as the Centre of His Covenant, is admired and loved by all Baha’is. His life is an inspiration to us all, and He has given us the example of how to live the perfect life, despite the many hardships that He had to endure. He, of course, is a hero of mine and of millions of other Baha’is throughout the world.

There are many other Baha’is who have dedicated their lives to the promotion of Baha’u’llah’s teachings, for whom I have huge respect. Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith for 36 years, until his passing in 1957, the many members who have served on the Universal House of Justice, the early pioneers of the Faith, many of whom gave up so much in order to spread the teachings of Baha’u’llah, and those Baha’is in the dawning place of the Faith who have been martyred for their beliefs, and those who are still suffering persecution, many in jail, for no other reason than the fact that they are Baha’is. The steadfastness of these friends is so inspiring, and we pray that truth and common sense will soon prevail and they will be released from their cruel and unjust imprisonment.

I am deeply indebted to the person who introduced me to this great Faith, Hugh Carden. He was a tireless worker for the Faith, and I feel so fortunate that our paths crossed. Hugh has now passed to the next world, but he continues to inspire me. Thank you, Hugh.

My parents, my wife and my children have all played a major part in my life and I am immensely proud of all of them. My dad passed away in 1982, and my mum in 2016 at the great age of 102. They were great parents and I love them dearly.

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There have been many people that I have admired and respected throughout my life; Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela to name but a few. However, as far as a living hero is concerned, no one inspires me more than a young Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai. This amazing young lady, shot in the head by the Taliban, made a miraculous recovery, and now fearlessly promotes the importance of education for women and children, particularly young girls. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, and with a maturity way beyond her years, I believe that given the opportunity she can and will play a major role in bringing about positive change in the world. My favourite quote from Malala… “Why is it that countries which we call strong are so powerful in creating wars, but so weak in bringing peace?” Below are links to Malala’s address to the United Nations in July 2013 and her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in December 2014. If you think that one person can’t make a difference, watch the videos and be inspired.