The North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust has appointed its first ever Imam to its chaplaincy team.
Abdur Rashid Meah, 29, has taken up the role at the Cumberland Infirmary and the West Cumberland Hospital.
Rashid, a former Stanwix and Trinity School pupil, started his role before Christmas and is enjoying visiting patients on the wards.
He also works closely with the other chaplaincy team members to provide pastoral, spiritual and religious care to patients, their relatives and the staff.
He said: “It’s been brilliant so far. I appreciate being part of a growing team.
“I’ve had very good experiences. I visit patients who have requested a visit from the chaplain. The majority of people I have seen so far are non-Muslim.
“Faith is an important part of my job. You have to have faith or you would never do anything or go anywhere."
Since he started his new role Rashid has been busy.
He said: “I’ve been making good use of the hospital library. I love reading about other cultures and religions and I enjoy travelling to religious sites.
“The welfare of humans and psychology is important to me. I like understanding different languages and diversity.
“Health and fitness is also important. I was quite sporty back in my younger days.”
Chaplain Barrie Thomas said: “We have appreciated the addition of Rashid to the chaplaincy team as he, and hopefully, his wife Rashida, can provide the specialised coverage we need, particularly to the staff, patients and relatives who are of the Muslim faith.
“We have enjoyed some very meaningful and positives discussions together on faith and culture and we look forward to working together.”
Rashid is married to Rashida, 27, who is originally from London. She is also part of the chaplaincy team.