• Thursday, June 13, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Imtiyaz Shaikh sworn in as Swindon’s first Indian mayor

He took over after serving last year as deputy to Barbara Parry.

Imtiyaz Shaikh takes office as mayor (Photo: LDRS)

By: Aled Thomas

SWINDON has its first mayor of Indian, and Goan, heritage.

The Labour member for Eastcott, Councillor Imtiyaz Shaikh, who was first elected in 2018, took up the chains of office at the borough council’s formal annual meeting in front of a chamber packed not only with councillors and local and county dignitaries, but members of his family, friends and community leaders.

He took over after serving the last year as deputy to the outgoing mayor councillor Barbara Parry.

Nominating Shaikh was cabinet member councillor Small. He said: “Swindon has a good record of electing mayors from its differing communities, and Shaikh will be the first Indian and Goan mayor.

“He shares my love of cricket, which is good enough reason to nominate him, but also he will very much suit the robes.”

Shaik’s nomination was supported by the Tory group as well as Labour and he was elected to the post of mayor unanimously.

The new mayor Shaikh said: “I want to say thank you to Councillor Parry. And thank you to my friends and family for the constant love and support during my time as a councillor and along my political journey and as a social activist.”

“I’ve always been a believer in shattering your own glass ceiling and offering to others what might not have been offered to me.

“It is the privilege of my life to be Swindon’s first Indian and Goan mayor. But I will be a Mayr for all here. I will represent all those who call Swindon home.

“There are many challenges in the year ahead, and the council will work hard to transform Swindon. But over the last year, serving as deputy Mayor, has been incredibly eye-opening and rewarding.

Swindon has never just been a location on a map for me, it has always been my home and I want to help raise the expectations of our children to build a great future.”

Mayor Shaikh said his chosen charities are BEST – Be a Better You, which runs mentoring schemes for young people in the borough, and Changing Suits, which works to break down barriers for young people from a south Asian background.

He paid tribute to the support and help he had received from his wife, also a sitting member councillor Adorabelle Shaikh, and his children and in Konkani, the native language of Goa, said: “May the almighty bestow kindness on you.”

Recently returned to the council, Fay Howard was elected as deputy mayor for the next 12 months.

(Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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