My wonderful year as Mayor
Councillor Ishrat Shah has come to the end of a memorable year as Mayor.
It has been a varied and exciting time for Councillor Shah who is hugely proud of what she and the community have achieved.
During her year as Mayor, Councillor Shah attended hundreds of events, including a sleep out event for the homeless, a Berkshire schools mock trial event and the Slough Rotary Club Slough Together Walk, where she walked five miles with other participants. She also spent time with the elderly in care homes and helped charities and organisations celebrate milestone events.
Councillor Shah said: “My favourite thing has been meeting with people and getting to know more about my town. I’ve enjoyed finding out more about the voluntary organisations working in Slough, people’s contributions and supporting them.”
Working with women’s organisations has been important to Councillor Shah, who moved to Slough in 2004 as a single parent of two children, and had previously suffered domestic abuse.
She said: “Empowering women is something really special. I had a lot of experience which I could share. I was talking to women who have suffered from domestic abuse and encouraging them to put the past behind them and don’t cling on to it. Trouble makes you a strong person and teaches you a lot of lessons. You have to take a stand for yourself and others.”
The Mayor hosted a charity event in Wexham on 14 May, where organisations paid for a table of 10. There was music, food and an auction, which raised money for the Recycled Teenagers group and homeless charity The London and Slough Run.
The Mayor also attended the Women’s Forum coffee morning at The Curve on 16 May. The event enabled guests to find out more about issues affecting women in Slough and to hear from the Mayor reflecting on her role.
The Mayor’s daughter Mariam acted as her consort for the year, attending all kinds of events and growing in confidence herself.
Councillor Shah said: “I am pleased I had a chance to make Mariam my consort so she could be with me everywhere. She really enjoyed it and it helped build her social skills.
“It has been a really hectic year; I attended the events but I stayed with the community for longer and I enjoyed it. I’m very much a people person. People were very happy when I supported them, they were happy to see me at their event.”
Councillor Shah worked throughout her time as Mayor and often used her lunch breaks to carry out visits.
Now her year as Mayor is up, Councillor Shah will continue to support women’s organisations and charities supporting the homeless and those with disabilities. She is also thinking of setting up her own charity to help others.
Councillor Shah said: “I think it was a year I never imagined; it was the best year of my life. I’m proud to have served this town with dignity and respect. Slough people are very close to my heart; they are my family.
“I will give my time to my ward residents and carry on with my councillor role. I will not let the excitement and enthusiasm die. I will carry on with my work and will be contributing to the community.”
The Mayor hosted a voluntary service celebration at Arbour Park on 11 May to thank community groups and individuals for the work they do.
She was also honoured to attend the Queen’s Garden Party, on her own birthday on 15 May, with two long-serving staff members.
Councillor Shah said: “Community spirit makes Slough special. I served this town as a councillor and Mayor. I feel so proud to have been Mayor; I wanted to give my best to this town.”
The new Mayor was chosen at a Mayor Making ceremony on 17 May. Councillor Paul Sohal has taken on the role, with Councillor Avtar K Cheema as Deputy Mayor.