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Jalandhar man takes over as mayor in Britain city

Monday, 14 May 2007 - 9:58am IST | Agency: IANS
Harjit Gill, takes over as the 527th Mayor of Gloucester, a city a couple of hours drive away from London. He will be the first Asian mayor of the city.

DAKOHA (Punjab): This fairly prosperous village on the outskirts of Punjab's bustling city of Jalandhar will have its resident, Harjit Gill, create a history of sorts May 21 when he takes over as mayor of Gloucester city in Britain.


Gill takes over as the 527th Mayor of Gloucester, a city a couple of hours drive away from London. He will be the first Asian mayor of the city.


Termed a 'popular' councillor from Barton and Tredworth, Gill won the recent council elections in Gloucester on the Labour party ticket. He had moved to Barton only in 1992.


A postmaster and businessman, Gill had created history in 2004 as well when he became the first elected Sheriff of Gloucester.


Gill has been mayor of Barton, an area of Gloucester city, which elects its own mayor, for two years from 1999.


"It's great to be part of this city. I am close to the people of this city and look forward to serving them even better as Mayor. There have been 526 mayors and it has taken a long time to see a mayor from an ethnic minority," Gill said.


But he does not want to be identified with one community alone.


"As mayor one has to look after the entire city and not just one community. I am looking forward to this assignment. My experience as being twice mayor of Barton and Sheriff of Gloucester will help me in the new assignment," he said.


A keen hockey player, who even donned India colours at international hockey events and had the entire Indian hockey team attending his wedding with Britain-born Jasminder in 1978, Gill says he always loved challenges.


He moved to Britain the same year he married after completing his masters in political science from Jalandhar. He had not even met Jasminder till he arrived in England to marry her.


The couple has two children, son Gurkamal, 26, and daughter Amrit, 24.


"It feels great to have a friend like him who goes on to become mayor in his adopted country," his friend for three decades Arvind Abrol said here.


It was Gill's love for hockey that still keeps him connected with the game.


He still plays referee at local hockey events. He took the Gloucester police hockey team to India in 1998 to play matches with Indian police teams.


The mayor-in-waiting is now organising a trip of the British police orchestra to India.


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