Harrow Council has selected a new mayor at a special meeting last night (5 May).
Former Deputy Mayor Cllr Ghazanfar Ali takes over from Cllr Nitin Parekh following the Mayor-making ceremony last night.
Cllr Parekh made history by serving two years as Mayor of Harrow as a result of the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Outgoing Mayor Cllr Nitin Parekh said: “When I took my Oath of Allegiance on 16 May 2019, I never dreamt that I would make history by serving as Mayor for two consecutive years. It was a great honour and privilege to be the Mayor of this great and most diverse borough.
“My aim that night was to make our vibrant and multi-cultural Borough move forward with an even stronger sense of community and belonging for all our residents, whilst tackling the challenges we faced – how prophetic those words proved to be.
“When the Covid pandemic struck at the core of our national and local lives despite lockdown Harrow sprang into action. As Mayor, in the past year, I have witnessed true community spirit and selfless service mobilised by volunteers and professionals in Harrow, to alleviate the hardship and spread of this awful disease.
“I have attended numerous virtual meetings, arranged commendation awards, and represented the Borough as best as was possible during the pandemic. I am absolutely filled with awe at the response by the citizens of Harrow, and the remarkable initiatives that have emerged. I feel humbled to have been their First Citizen during these trying times.
“I am delighted that my special appeal, Akshaya Patra charity has already partnered with Harrow Council to provide support for vulnerable children in our Borough.”
“I’d like to wish our new incoming Mayor, Cllr Ghazanfar Ali, all the best in his role. I am confident that he will do a fantastic job in representing the borough and our residents.”
New Mayor of Harrow, Cllr Ghazanfar Ali, said: “I am honoured and privileged to have been elected as Mayor of Harrow. I hope to continue the path of previous Mayors by promoting and celebrating Harrow’s achievements in bringing people from all walks of life together.
“Harrow is an example, not only in London and the UK, but to the world, of people living together peacefully, happily and respectfully regardless of race, religion, culture or background. I am proud to represent Harrow’s values and example of respect, inclusivity, unity, kindness, and service.
“I look forward to meeting members of our diverse community and participating in all the various events that make Harrow the best borough in London.
“Strength is always in coming together, standing together, working together, learning from each other and respecting each other. And that’s how we can ensure the well-being of the people of Harrow.
“I have selected Harrow Mencap, and Harrow Association of Disabled People as the charities for my Mayoral year. These are two charities, that I have worked closely with over the years, do a tremendous job in helping and serving people with disabilities in Harrow. I know how tirelessly the staff work to assist vulnerable members of our community and I hope you all will help me to continue supporting them.”
Cllr Graham Henson, Leader of Harrow Council, said: “Nitin has been a wonderful Mayor for these two years and has helped to guide Harrow through the pandemic with professionalism and dedication. This has been a tough time for all in the Borough, but has brought out the best in us in terms of the many acts of kindness, the way people have rallied round to help one another and the togetherness of our community even as we had to keep apart.
“I wish Ghazanfar the very best of luck as he takes on this richly-deserved honour, after serving as deputy mayor.
“I am sure he will thrive in the role and build on the work of Nitin and our other previous Mayors in working to encourage collaboration, peace and respect among our wonderfully diverse community in Harrow.”
Source: Harrow Council