Young Gravesham Mayor determined to promote multi-cultural borough
PUBLISHED: 13:46 19 May 2011
Fluent in four languages and with qualifications from UCL, Oxford and Cambridge, 32-year-old Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi has been appointed the Mayor of Gravesham.
Cllr Dhesi took the chain of office from Bill Lambert on Tuesday, at the first full council meeting since the Labour Party seized back control in the May 6 local election.
Having moved with his family to Gravesend from Slough aged two, he will be the second youngest person to take up the office in Gravesham, being 49 days older than Ray Parker was in 2005.
He said: “It is a great honour, of course, and I will do my very best to undertake my duties to the best of my abilities.”
A former Gravesend Grammar School pupil and deputy head boy, Cllr Dhesi is married to Manveen Kaur Dhesi. The couple have a son Jugaad, two.
He is not the first Sikh to take up the office, Cllr Makhan Singh being appointed mayor in 1997, and he hopes his election will help promote integration.
“That is the main aim of this year. I want to promote Gravesham as a cohesive community, not just in the UK but internationally. My appointment has received a lot of attention in Sikh and Indian communities around the world and I want to help present the image of an integrated society.”
Despite his faith, Cllr Dhesi has elected the Rev Peter Clark, of Northfleet United Reformed Churches, as his civic chaplain.
“I know him through his work in the community. Yes I could have appointed a Granthi, but the overwhelming majority of the borough is Christian so I have chosen to keep with tradition and appoint a Christian chaplain.”
Lyn Milne will act as Deputy Mayor for the year.