05:55PM, Thursday 24 May 2018
With the Mayor of Slough passing on her ceremonial chains this week, The Express spoke to Cllr Ishrat Shah about her year’s service.
Speaking in her Mayoral office in Slough Borough Council’s Bath Road headquarters, the mother-of-two said: “I think that it was the best year of my life.”
The teaching assistant at Western House Primary Academy managed to juggle her mayoral duties with her job, her regular case work as a councillor and as a single mother.
She said she had to remind herself to put her chain in her bag and bring a smart change of clothes with her so she could break from work for mayoral duties.
“I’ve attended so many events during my lunch,” she said.
The Mayor, who has Pakistani heritage, helped put Slough on the international stage, having been interviewed by Pakistani TV stations in the town.
Cllr Shah says her favourite aspect of her time as Mayor was meeting and promoting charities, in particular women and domestic abuse charities like Jeena International.
The outgoing Mayor moved to Slough from Newport, South Wales in 2004 having been a victim of domestic abuse.
“I was in a situation where I couldn’t carry on with my education or anything. I had a completely different life. It was completely depressing.”
Describing her time spent walking around the city, she said: “There’s no bench that I did not sit on and cry.”
She recalled pictures of her injuries taken by domestic violence services and said: “I feel sorry for this person,” feeling like a different woman, having turned her life around.
The Labour councillor for Farnham says she wishes she had more time to do charity work as Mayor and would like to embark on a project in the future to help children’s services and education in the borough.
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