Milton Keynes warmly welcomed its new Mayor in a packed ceremony in the Council Chamber last night.
Subhan Shafiq takes over from outgoing Mayor Brian White, after supporting him as the Deputy Mayor over the last year.
Married with three children, Cllr Shafiq originally hails from Batley in West Yorkshire, but has lived in Milton Keynes for the past 25 years.
He is a member of the Independent Advisory Group Thames Valley Police MK, and a Trustee of Wolverton Mosque & Community Centre.
And as a Yorkshireman - perhaps unsurprisingly - he is a keen cricketer, and president of both MK Azad & Westcroft Cricket Clubs locally.
His chosen charities for his Mayoral Year will be Willen Hospice and MacIntyre, a national charity which caters for children and adults with learning difficulties.
Councillor Shafiq said: “It is an honour to be representing the city of Milton Keynes and I will be working across all communities to best highlight and promote our wonderful city.
“It’s not just infrastructure that makes a city - it is the community within and we will work to protect and grow our sense of community, for it is Milton Keynes’ greatest source of strength.
“I look forward to working with my chosen charities and the Mayoral year ahead.”
Warm congratulations were paid to the outgoing Mayor, Cllr Brian White, by the three main group leaders.
During his Mayoral year Brian’s campaigned to raise awareness not only of The International Campaign to Ban Landmines, but locally, the Stony Stratford based Ted’s Gang, named after a local boy who suffers from Shwachman Diamond Syndrome (SDS).
SDS is an inherited genetic condition that affects digestion, growth, immunity, bone marrow, teeth, skeletal development among others. About 30% of sufferers go on to develop AML, the worst kind of leukaemia.
As well as his work with Milton Keynes Council, Cllr White was elected as one of the borough’s two MPs in 1997.
He said: “I was lucky because I shadowed Mayors during the time I was MP. Most Mayors do around 600 events in one year, but I knew what I was letting myself in for.
“It’s busy but I can tell you that a Mayor does about half the work of an MP, and that often goes unnoticed.”
Since donning the Mayoral mantle, Cllr White has worked tirelessly to champion the positive effects that growing businesses can have on the local community.
He said: “I started out with the objective of promoting Milton Keynes as a business city, and I think businesses responded well to that.
“With the number of companies, such as Brioche, coming in it shows this is an attractive place to come to in the recovery.”
During his tenure Milton Keynes has also been working towards becoming a Smart City
– reducing carbon footprints whilst growing sustainably, taking advantage of the latest technology and innovations.
“Every city says that they will be Smart, but MK has got projects such as the Transport Catapult which is putting us on par with cities such as Barcelona and Chicago,” he added.