Free Press Journal

UK town council gets its first Sikh mayor



London: An Indian-origin councillor today took charge as the mayor of Britain’s Wokingham Borough Council, the first ever Sikh to hold this position. Parvinder Singh Batth, a Conservative party councillor has served his local borough of Wokingham in Berkshire in south east England as Deputy Mayor, took over the role from Councillor UllaKarin Clark and will serve till 2017.

“Councillor Clark has helped me immensely. She will be a tough act to follow, and to her I say thank you,” Councillor Batth thanked Clark for her support. “I will duly and faithfully fulfil the duties of my role to the best of my judgment. Being born in Punjab to a farming family, I come from a humble background.

“However, I now feel even more humbled being chosen as the new Mayor,” Councillor Batth said. Councillor Batth named the children’s organisation ‘Arc’ as this year’s chosen charity. The organisation aims to transform the lives of children through a range of education, health and child protection programmes.

Since being founded in 2002, the charity has claimed to have helped more than 430,000 children worldwide. Councils across the UK run the day-to-day affairs of particular areas of a city or town and the mayor’s role includes hosting a number of fundraising and other activities to promote his local area.

It is often seen as a stepping stone to more mainstream politics as an MP.