An inspirational young mum and councillor will proudly “shatter the glass ceiling” when she becomes the first female Muslim Mayor of Kirklees next year.
Clr Nosheen Dad, who studied A-levels at Huddersfield New College and graduated from the University of Huddersfield, has been elected as Deputy Mayor of Kirklees for 2023-24.
That means she is expected to become Mayor and the district’s first citizen from May next year.
At the annual Mayor Making ceremony at Huddersfield Town Hall, Lindley Lib Dem councillor Cahal Burke succeeded Clr Masood Ahmed as Mayor with mum-of-one Clr Dad, who is expecting her second child, as deputy for the next 12 months.
Council leader Shabir Pandor told the meeting that Clr Dad would prove a true inspiration and that this was a breakthrough moment for Kirklees.
Clr Dad was first elected as a Labour councillor for Dewsbury South in 2015 and Clr Pandor said she had already “inspired a complete new generation of young people and Asian women.”
And, he added: “I am sure she will be an inspiration to all of us not just this year but next year as well.”
Clr Nosheen Dad (second left) with her husband Shiraz Khan (left) with outgoing Mayor Clr Masood Ahmed (centre) with his daugher Iram and new Mayor and Mayoress of Kirklees Clr Cahal Burke and daughter Sinead (right).
Clr Pandor told how Clr Dad needed a few days to think over the chance to become Deputy Mayor before she said she’d be honoured to take on the responsibility.
“I was over the moon,” said Clr Pandor. “That’s because she will not just be the Deputy Mayor she will be the first female Muslim Mayor of Kirklees and that’s a massive achievement for her and for this council.
“This council believes in shattering all the barriers and all the ceilings. You are definitely shattering all the ceilings and breaking all the barriers.”
Clr Dad, who became the first female Asian president of the Students’ Union at the University of Huddersfield, admitted to a “moment of self-doubt.”
But she added: “As we women know, especially those serving in public and political life, the glass ceiling is very real and can often feel shatterproof. For many of us it is. It’s a concrete ceiling rather than glass.
“When first approached by the leader I had a moment of self-doubt. I thought to myself: ‘Is this something I can do?’ I have a three-year-old daughter and another one on the way.
“I soon snapped out of this moment of self-doubt and remembered everything I stood for.
“I can be both a mum with a young family and Deputy Mayor of Kirklees and I am going to do this for all the young women and people out there who wish to raise young families and have careers because both should – and can – coincide with eachother and why shouldn’t they, especially in the 21st century?”
Clr Dad’s consort will be her husband Shiraz Khan and Clr Burke’s mayoress will be his daughter Sinead.
Clr Burke (right) presents the Deputy Mayor’s chain of office to Clr Dad.
Clr Burke thanked his parents, family and friends for all their support and said he’d had a “wonderful year” as Deputy Mayor and looked forward to supporting the whole community and promoting the district over the next year.
He told how, as a teenager, he sneaked into an election count without a ticket and was fascinated by politics. He hoped to help re-engage young people with the democratic process.
Outgoing Mayor Clr Ahmed, who also had his daughter Iram as mayoress, was praised as the “people’s mayor” who would be a hard act to follow.
Clr Ahmed, also a Labour councillor for Dewsbury South, had been mayor in an “unprecedented” year which saw the Platinum Jubilee, the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the Coronation of King Charles III.
At last year’s Mayor Making, Clr Ahmed paid an emotional tribute to his 92-year-old father Abdul who looked on proudly as his son became mayor. Sadly, just a few weeks later, Clr Ahmed’s father passed away but the mayor only had a short time away from his duties.
Clr Ahmed threw himself wholeheartedly into the role of first citizen and attended over 300 official engagements, attending 20 events over the Coronation weekend alone.
Highlights included riding an Arabian horse on playing fields in Thornhill Lees, sticking his arm up Daisy the prosthetic cow and playing cricket with a ladies’ team in the corridor at Huddersfield Town Hall.
“This year has been one of change,” said Clr Ahmed. “It’s unlikely we will see the like of such historic events again. Standing on the balcony at Huddersfield Town Hall reading a proclamation to announce the new monarch. The last time that was done was 70 years ago.”
He added: “It’s been a privilege and an honour to be the first citizen of Kirklees. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
With a twinkle in his eye, he turned to Clr Burke and smiled: “I hope I haven’t set the bar too high for you, Mr Mayor!”
Clr Ahmed raised thousands of pounds for his chosen charity, the Huddersfield-based Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.
Clr Burke’s charities are Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Charity and the Huddersfield Royal Air Force Association.
During the ceremony youngsters from Lindley Junior School Choir entertained the audience.