UNITY and peace will be the theme of Rugby’s new Mayor during his year in office.
Coun Ramesh Srivastava, who has served on the borough council since 2003, said he felt grateful and privileged after taking over from Coun Tony Gillias.
He has chosen The Friends of the Hospital of St Cross as his charity for the year.
During his speech at the Mayor-Making Ceremony last week, the new first citizen of Rugby told the story of how he came from India to Glasgow to study mechanical engineering at the Royal College of Science and Technology, now the University of Strathclyde.
“I can still remember clearly the day my life in Britain began, not in Rugby but as a student in Glasgow where I arrived on the 29th September 1963 at 4pm. It was raining, and I had no umbrella.
“My landlady told me to let her know when I would like to have a bath because she would need to light a coal fire to warm the water. I said I was used to taking a bath with cold water in India so cold water would be fine. She smiled.
“The next morning I went to the bathroom and turned on the tap. I very soon came back out again – and knocked on the landlady’s door.”
He said he was still grateful to his father for supporting his studies financially; “He would have been proud to see me today.” he said.
After his degree, he came to Rugby in 1967 to work as a graduate apprentice at what was then the English English Electric Company, now Alstom. He married his wife Manju in 1970 and together they raised their son and daughter in Rugby.
During his time here he has worked as a non-executive director in the NHS, as a school governor, as a magistrate and with voluntary organisations such as the Benn Partnership Centre before retiring in 2009.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with people of many different backgrounds in this town.” he said. “All of this has made me realise how lucky I am to live here and to have brought up my family here.”
He concluded by thanking residents of his ward, Newbold and Brownsover, his family and friends, and added he was proud to be a citizen of such a diverse community as Rugby.
“People often talk about racial prejudice and discrimination. I can only say I have knocked on many many doors during this election campaign and I can say with confidence the people of this town are fair and tolerant.
“I hope I can repay your confidence in me by serving you and all the people of Rugby as well as I possibly can.”
– THE new Mayor was thrown in at the deep end with his first appointment – a cycling challenge.
Coun Srivastava was at the Orchard Centre on Morton Gardens to take part in a virtual cycle ride to promote a fitter and healthier lifestyle.
It was part of South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust’s (SWFT) Workout at Work Day to encourage employees to avoid poor work habits and take more exercise.
Mayor Ramesh Srivastava gets on his bike for his first engagement with physiotherapists Alex Bruce and Sam Berry, Maciej Pokora and Anne McGregor, Lucy Allan, Chris Williams and Maggie O’Rourke (s)