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Captured—historic moment UK’s first Somali mayor takes office

PUBLISHED: 15:17 21 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 05 October 2010

Council superintendant Peter Miller takes chain of office from outgoing mayor and places on Ahmed

Council superintendant Peter Miller takes chain of office from outgoing mayor and places on Ahmed

Carmen Valino

THE picture that says it all—the moment the first-ever Somali mayor in Britain takes office. The historic moment was captured last night by the East London Advertiser when Ahmed Omer became mayor of Tower Hamlets as the chain of office was conferred on him

Pictures: Carmen Valino

By Else Kvist

THESE pictures say it all—the moment the first-ever Somali mayor in Britain takes office.

The historic moment was captured last night by the East London Advertiser when Ahmed Omer became mayor of Tower Hamlets as the chain of office was conferred on him

“I’m enormously proud of my heritage both as a Somali and as an East Ender,” he told the council chamber.

“There has been a Somali community here for more than 200 years. There are 10,000 Somalis in Tower Hamlets today.”

CHARITIES

He was brought up in Bethnal Green, the son of a merchant seaman. His year of office will focus largely on working with the East End’s older community as well as youngsters, with his chosen charities being St Margaret’s Settlement and the Bangladeshi Parents & Carers Association.

Cllr Omer becomes 45th Mayor of the London borough in the same year he had turned 45.

His Deputy Mayor also enrolled last night at the Town Hall’s AGM is Cllr Lutfa Begum, the first Bengali woman in the role.

WRANGLE

It was the first time the local press was actually allowed to photograph the annual mayor’s ceremony after years of wrangling, unlike most local authorities up and down the country which make a grand public occasion of mayor-making.

Tower Hamlets finally agreed to let the East London Advertiser’s photographer Carmen Valino in to capture’ the moment outgoing mayor Muhammad Salique handed over the reins to Ahmed.

But even then, the photographer was barred from getting too close and had to manage with a long photo-lens from the public gallery.

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