A respected and long-serving councillor paid an emotional tribute to his 92-year-old father and his late mother as he was elected Mayor of Kirklees.
At a ceremony in Huddersfield Town Hall Clr Masood Ahmed, 54, spoke of his pride at becoming the district’s first citizen.
Former youth worker Clr Ahmed, a Labour councillor who has represented Dewsbury South for 16 years, described the mayoralty as an “honour and a privilege.”
Speaking at the mayor-making and watched by his father Abdul and family and friends, Clr Ahmed said: “This is a very special day for me and my family. A day I never imagined.
“A local boy, born in Dewsbury & District Hospital from a poor, migrant family becoming the first citizen of Kirklees. I owe my parents everything.
“My father came to the UK in the early 1950s as an economic migrant leaving behind his own family to help build our great country after the Second World War.
“Along with 21 others he lived in a single terraced house when he worked at Wormald & Walker’s blanket mill in Dewsbury working double shifts to provide for his young family. My dad is 92 years old and he is at the back of the hall. I love you, dad.
“While my father was working, me and my four brothers were raised by my beloved mother who passed away in 1995. She taught us the value of family, community, faith. I am the man I am today because of my mother.
“My parents instilled in me the virtues of being a voice for the voiceless, being an advocate for the meek, being a representative for the forgotten.”
Clr Ahmed, who will be joined by his daughter Iram as his mayoress, has chosen the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice in Huddersfield as his charity for the year.
He said: “Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice is very close to my heart. As a parent who has lost two children I can personally relate to the fantastic work they do at a time families are going through a terrible tragedy.
“Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice supports children with life-shortening conditions and their families in West Yorkshire.
“They are here for any family confronted with the news their child has a life-shortening condition. They help families make the most of every moment they have together. I would urge you all to support the mayor’s charity so we can support families when they need it the most.”
Clr Ahmed said he wanted to champion all charities during the year and added: “Kirklees families, communities, charities and businesses went through a very difficult time during the pandemic.
“We are slowly coming out of the pandemic and we still need to be cautious but the road is becoming clearer and safer.
“As the mayor I want to reach out and visit as many families, communities, charities and businesses as possible to let them know we are here for them and to support them in getting back to normal, whatever the new normal is.”
Clr Ahmed replaced former Holme Valley South Tory councillor Nigel Patrick as mayor. Mr Patrick retired from the council after 20 years.
Speaking about his year as mayor impacted by the pandemic Mr Patrick said: “It was no ordinary year. It was difficult yet fulfilling and I am a richer person for the experience.”
Mr Patrick revealed that his charity appeal over the year had raised £30,000 for Holme Valley Mountain Rescue.
Deputy Mayor for 2022-23 will be Lindley Lib Dem councillor Cahal Burke, who was proposed by his friend and fellow Lindley councillor Anthony Smith.
Clr Smith described his colleague as a “people’s champion and pillar of the community.” He said Clr Burke was an “outstanding” councillor who was the “epitome of someone who aspires to public office for all the right reasons.”
Clr Burke paid tribute to the outgoing mayor and congratulated Clr Ahmed and added: “I look forward to supporting you in the year ahead and carrying out the duties to the best of my ability.”
For more about the role of the mayor and to invite him to an event click HERE