A COUNCILLOR who first joined Keighley Town Council a decade ago has officially been made town mayor for the 2017/18 civic year.
Councillor Mohammed Nazam was formally appointed to the post at a mayor making ceremony yesterday evening, (May 18) alongside Cllr Ian Dermondy who is the new deputy mayor.
Cllr Nazam confirmed the charity he will support for his mayor's appeal will be Manorlands Hospice.
"There are two reasons for this, one of which is quite personal to me," he explained.
"My mother in law, who died in 2010, spent the last four weeks of her life at Manorlands, but she was not only cared for at the hospice but looked after by its team outside as well.
"There is a lot of good palliative work that Manorlands does beyond its base, which I want to promote within all communities, including the ethnic minority community."
Cllr Nazam, was first elected in the town council's Highfield Ward in 2007 and since then has also represented Town Ward.
He said one of his objectives during his mayoral term of office is to lay the foundations for the council's successful participation in the National Association of Local Council's Award Scheme.
This initiative is designed to celebrate the successes of the UK's best local councils, and provide a framework to support all local councils to improve and develop.
Cllr Nazam added: "I want to build strong relationships with Bradford Council, with district councillors and with the future MP whoever that may be.
"As a town council we need to continue the good work we've done with Town Hall Square – we've got a brilliant asset there.
"And we need to take on more services from Bradford Council, which is something we're looking into now."
He said he wanted to see the council further progress its community development involvement, after it intervened to offer funding in the wake of Bradford Council cuts to funding for community workers in Keighley.
Cllr Nazam, 39, was born and brought up in Keighley and educated at Greenhead School then at Keighley College where he gained a diploma in social care.
He worked as a hygiene manager in the food production industry for 10 years, and for the last seven years he has been a senior case worker in the office of Conservative MP Kris Hopkins – who is now the Conservative's parliamentary candidate for Keighley in next month's General Elections.
Cllr Nazam said this role had given him a good insight into the needs and concerns of the local community.
"It's a very rewarding job, especially when you're able to help someone and get a positive outcome," he said.
Cllr Nazam is married with two sons and two daughters. His mayoress for the year will be his wife, Shamim Akhtar.
He has taken over from 2016/17 town mayor Cllr Shabir Ahmed.
New deputy mayor, Cllr Dermondy, represents Guardhouse Ward and was first elected to the town council in May 2015.
He was born in London, is married with six children and moved to Yorkshire 15 years ago.
He spent six years as the area co-ordinator and county controller for a lowland search and rescue team, ran martial arts schools for 22 years around the country and was a school governor.