He’s the Huddersfield hero who was so moved by the refugee crisis that he travelled to Greece to help.
But instead of handing out food parcels to migrants, Sakeeb Khan has ended up digging their graves.
The Bradley Mills man had the heartbreaking job of burying Syrian refugees who died at sea while fleeing the grips of ISIS and Assad’s government in their homeland.
Among those the 32-year-old has laid to rest were the decomposed bodies of children, young women and babies as young as just three months.
Now Sakeeb wants to use his experiences on the island of Lesbos as an urgent message to everyone at home: Do not ignore the suffering.
In an emotional interview with the Examiner, Sakeeb relived the traumatic experiences of washing, clothing and burying the bodies of those who are sent to the graveyard from the mortuary in shipping containers. Some of the victims have been dead for nine months.
He said: “When you’re there you can smell death in the air.
“I look at their faces and think: ‘You were a person just like me’.
“Washing the body is part of my religion and I knew I would have to do it one day - but not like this.
“Each body is buried with time and respect in the way we do with our war heroes, but we have to be private for fear far-right groups could come and cause disruption.”
It is the first Muslim graveyard ever built in Greece, and each body must go through a process of being washed and clothed before being laid to rest.
Sakeeb has also helped by making benches for grieving relatives to sit on.
He went to Lesbos last year after quitting his job as a surveyor for HBOS. He is currently in Indonesia visiting family and helping orphans.
Sakeeb said he was given the job of gravedigging after a volunteer was injured in a crash and needed someone to take over the job. Since then he has buried around 70 bodies, but said he “stopped counting after 50”.
“At first, I couldn’t bring myself to bury the children, it was heartbreaking. Some are buried with no parents there at all.
“I remember seeing one woman crying in the graveyard. When we spoke to her, she said she had travelled from Syria after her husband was killed in the war. Her son drowned on the journey over and she had no family left, and no photographs.
“I once had to bury a three-month-old baby. It totally broke me and I haven’t been the same since.
“I’ve seen things you don’t see on the news, like children arriving in dinghies and holding up their hands because they are so used to war they think the volunteers are going to harm them.”
Sakeeb said people at home should do what they can to help.
“People need to realise these people aren’t coming over for jobs and an easy life, they’re escaping death and starvation.”
Sakeeb and his mother and aunt Nusrat Bibi run charity Refugee Aid 786, which collects donations and is planning to open a shelter to house refugees.
Musrrat said: “Everyone has been so kind and we are thankful for all the donations.
“We will continue to help these people for as long as we can.”