The new mayor of Banbury said it is an honour to represent the town after being sworn in at a traditional ceremony yesterday evening (Tuesday, May 9).
Cllr Shaida Hussain took over from previous mayor Cllr Colin Clarke at Banbury Town Council’s annual meeting in a packed town hall.
Cllr John Colgrave, who is yet to be mayor after many years on the council, was elected as her deputy.
Cllr Hussain said: “I feel very honoured to be selected by my fellow councillors which cements my families roots to this town which go back 40 years when my family moved here.”
The Labour councillor for Grimsbury is thought to be Banbury’s first Muslim mayor, something which she said shows the council’s diversity.
Cllr Steve Kilsby, who proposed Cllr Hussain as mayor, described her as a ‘daughter of Grimsbury’ as she was born in Banbury and has lived her all her life.
“Shaida is thought of as one of the quieter members of the council but her work ethic and integrity are not to be taken lightly,” he said.
Cllr Hussain works at St Mary’s Primary School and says she hopes to encourage children to take part in a variety of activities over her mayoral year.
“My family came to Banbury around 40 years ago and my dad Charlie, who was a big influence on me, worked at Fine Lady Bakeries for more than 30 years before he passed away,” she said.
“I like reading, trying to get fit – but with mixed results so far, and I enjoy watching motorsport and socialising with my friends.
“My consort is my cousin Smyra Saleem who moved to Banbury from Sheffield five years ago and loves it here.”
Cllr Colgrave is one of two original members of the town council still serving and Cllr Keiron Mallon described his election as deputy mayor as ‘at last’.
If tradition is followed and Cllr Colgrave becomes the next mayor, he will be following in the footsteps of his mother Patricia, who was mayor 41 years ago.
He said: “It’s a great honour to do it, I’m looking forward to this year and I’m sure Shaida will do a good job and next year, God willing, I can carry on.”
Councillors paid tribute to outgoing mayor Cllr Clarke, who handed out £800 cheques to his chosen charities, Breathe Easy and The Children’s Air Ambulance.
“Well what a year it has been, I really have had a tremendous year,” he said.
“I’m born and bred in Banbury and policed this town for many years so I know it well but in just a matter of months I’ve come across people and organisations that I really didn’t know existed which I was very surprised by.”