First Sikh mayor sworn in
NEWBURY’S first ethnic minority mayor addressed the public during his official mayor-making ceremony on Sunday.
In a speech delivered to more than 100 local residents at The Corn Exchange, Kuldip Singh Kang said he was pleased to have the honour and privilege of being appointed his post.
After leading the procession of councillors through heavy rain from the town hall, outgoing mayor Phil Barnett recounted some of the 294 events he had attended over the past year.
These included the recent 1940s fundraising concert at Newbury Racecourse, visiting five of Newbury’s twin towns, meeting the Queen at Vodafone, attending 300 birthday parties and travelling in a horse drawn carriage through Northbrook Street on National Bereavement Day.
He said that he had given up 1450 hours of his time and travelled over 4,400 miles as mayor.
Nominating the new mayor, town councillor Adrian Edwards said that he had known Mr Singh Kang for 20 years, since he bought the Fifth Road store and post office after moving to the town from Slough.
Mr Edwards had then helped Mr Singh Kang to stand for election to the town council two years ago, as a Conservative candidate for Falkland ward.
Mr Singh Kang said that during his year as mayor, he would support local charities and help St George’s Church at Wash Common explore the possibility of becoming carbon neutral.
He thanked his wife of 29 years, his parents, two brothers, his sister, and his three grandchildren for supporting him at the ceremony. While he will practice his Sikh faith, he will continue the mayoral tradition of having a church chaplain, and the ceremony was followed by a civic service in St Nicolas’ Church.
“I am very pleased to be standing here today supported by four generations of my family,” he said.
Former town council leader Ian Grose was appointed deputy mayor.
During the ceremony, town marshal Dave Stubbs and town crier Brian Sylvester were awarded medals for 10 years of service to Newbury Town Council.