A new Mayor of Erewash was elected by the most narrow of margins after a vote was deadlocked.
Councillor Kewal Singh Athwal was formallinstated at a full meeting of Erewash Borough Council.
But not before the vote was tied at 25 each for Cllr Athwal and Labour’s Cllr Frank Phillips. This was caused by a Conservative councillor being away due to ill health.
It meant that outgoing mayor, Cllr Val Clare, had the decisive casting vote and chose Conservative Cllr Athwal, meaning Cllr Frank Phillips missed out.
During his mayoral year, Cllr Athwal will be supported by his wife, Lakhbir, and other family members .
Councillor Athwal said: “I am honoured to have been elected to serve as the Mayor of Erewash and will do my utmost to represent the council and serve the people of this wonderful borough with great pride over the coming year.
“I feel very privileged to become Erewash’s first elected mayor from an ethnic group and sincerely hope that I will be able to promote harmony and understanding between all cultures within our borough during my term of office.”
Cllr Athwal, who was deputy to Cllr Clare, said: “I am well aware of the inspiring and valuable work that goes on daily in all corners of Erewash and I look forward to attending further events during this year and to meeting residents of all ages.”
Born into a Sikh family in the Punjab area near the city of Jalandhar in India, Cllr Athwal moved to the United Kingdom in 1961.
His career has been mainly in two industries, the motor trade and textiles, starting on the shop floor of both industries and progressing to senior managerial roles.
He now owns his own business based in Long Eaton importing, wholesaling and exporting ladies fashion accessories to independent retailers and wholesalers.
He has carried out charity work both in the UK and in India, most notably raising funds to organise medical clinics in India for the poor to get treatment for various ailments - including funding around 500 cataract operations.
His deputy will be Cllr Val Custance.