A street in the London suburb where iconic rock musician Freddie Mercury lived as a teenager has been renamed Freddie Mercury Close. The new street sign was unveiled at a special ceremony on Monday this week by the late Queen frontman’s sister, Kashmira Bulsara and Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Tony Louki.
Local authorities agreed to rename part of Hanworth Road - the address of the headquarters of the World Zoroastrian Organisation (WZO). Freddie, real name Farrokh Bulsara, was born a Zoroastrian and practiced the ancient religion as a child. He and his family moved to Feltham in west London after fleeing the revolution in Zanzibar in 1964. The family lived a short walk away at 22 Gladstone Avenue. That site was marked with a blue plaque in 2016.
Monday’s ceremony, attended by around 150 guests, included Lord Karan Bilimoria, CBE, DL, Seema Malhotra MP, British writer and human rights campaigner Zerbanoo Gifford, writer Shahin Bekhradnia and flutist Jessica Mistry and leading British Zoroastrians Malcolm Deboo and Shahpur Captain.
The proceedings as well as the vote of thanks were led by WZO Secretary Darayus Motivala. Ervad Jimmy Madon, one of the youngest Zoroastrian priests in the UK, along with his brother and fellow priests recited a prayer. A minute’s silence was observed as a mark of respect for two senior priests who the community recently lost.
Hounslow Mayor Tony Louki spoke about Diversity in the Borough he represents. Silence during his address broke for a moment when two-year-old Micah called out “daddy” a few times which prompted laughter and smiles. Micah was with her dad Sheni, mum Anahita and brother Remi, aged five. Jacky Smith who runs the Official International Queen Fan Club, founded in 1973, also said a few words describing Freddie “a warm, funny man”.
Lord Bilimoria spoke about the contribution of fellow Zoroastrians in the UK and heaped praise on their collective remarkable achievements. “Wow, what an address to have,” he said and quoted two of Freddie’s most popular songs, ‘We are the Champions’ and ‘Don’t stop me Now’.
WZO President Sammy Bhiwandiwalla gave a presentation, with the aid of a script, featuring notable Zoroastrians in the Performing Arts, including Zubin Mehta. Medallions with the image of WZO House were presented by Shapur Captain to selected dignitaries. Warren Vokes from AE Tuition, a sponsor, who lease the top floor of WZO House, paid tribute to the Zoroastrians.
Of India’s 1.3 billion population, around 60,000 are Zoroastrians, also known as Parsis. In the UK, the Parsi population stands at around 6,000.
A memorial garden is in the planning to carry on the legacy of Freddie who influenced millions and is still so affectionately remembered by his fans, globally.
To find out more about WZO visit www.w-z-o.org