On behalf of Naz and Matt Foundation I’d like to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to the multi-award nominated actress Bhavna Limbachia for everything she has done for our charity and the community we serve.
We’ve finally caught up with recent episodes of ITV’s Coronation Street (yes it’s been very busy and hectic here recently)… and so we’re feeling sad from watching Rana Habeebs’s final scenes on the soap.
Through Bhavna’s powerful onscreen performances as Rana on Coronation Street, the struggles with her unaccepting onscreen parents, and her off-screen support for the LGBTQI+ community via our Foundation, she has made a huge difference to a lot of people.
I can genuinely say this from speaking to individuals directly in our community, and also hearing responses from their parents watching the soap. We’ve been told stories where parents of LGBTQI+ individuals have become more understanding, more accepting after watching Rana and Kate’s onscreen relationship blossom. This helped with their ‘coming out’.
Bhavna has fundraised for our charity, marched with us in Manchester Pride 2018, supported Naz and Matt Foundation at various events, was shortlisted for multiple awards for her portrayal of Coronation Street’s first lesbian Muslim character… and has tirelessly and persistently raised visibility of the challenges experienced by many LGBT+ people born into strict, conservative religious families.
Bhavna has unquestionably raised the visibility and profile of Naz and Matt Foundation in the national press, TV and to the general public. This has enabled our charity to reach a much greater number of people who need our support… particularly LGBTQI+ Muslims who until Bhavna’s campaigning did not know that focused help and support was available to them.
We are certainly incredibly sad to see Rana leave the soap in such tragic circumstances and disappear from the cobbled street. However, Bhavna played the part of Rana and her relationship with Kate (Faye Brookes) with such dignity and respect. She pushed the boundaries of her role and created something inspirational – for the first time ever on a major British soap we saw a lesbian Muslim character. Not just appear on TV, but fall in love.
Rana’s final moments were touching, gracious and sadly beautiful.
True love never dies and so even though Rana and Kate are now physically separated… they will always be together. It was important for Rana and Kate’s love to remain intact when Bhavna left the soap.
We will continue to support Bhavna and wish her every success in her new adventures. We look forward to working with Bhavna on future projects together.
Through Coronation Street we have made a friend and LGBTQI+ ally. We are truly thankful to Bhavna for the gift she has given us and our community.
Now it is our turn – for us not to waste this gift, and instead do something amazing… something that will help others.
We are proud to have Bhavna Limbachia as a Patron of Naz and Matt Foundation.
Thank you Bhavna x
From Matt, our Trustees and Volunteers xx
Matt set up the Naz and Matt Foundation in memory of his soulmate and fiancé, Naz, who passed away two days after being confronted about his sexuality by his religious parents. It was the first time that they knew their son was gay, in a relationship with Matt for 13 years and that they were planning to get married.