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Wycombe Mayor looking to build on community cohesion
THE Mayor of High Wycombe says he is "inspired" by the history of the town as he looks to build upon his community cohesion work.
Mayor Chauhdry Shafique has become something of a Wycombe stalwart since moving to the town from Pakistan as a child in 1963 – having twice been elected onto Wycombe District Council.
The chairman of the Council for Christian-Muslim Relations (CCMR) was awarded an MBE by the Queen last year for his "outstanding contribution to public life and services to community cohesion."
The father of four, in his first interview since the weighing in ceremony, said: "My family is fully rooted in High Wycombe, so being weighed in was a moment of great joy and excitement.
"The sense of history and being part of history is enormously powerful and a source of inspiration for me. I’d like to think I’ll be a good mayor who will be remembered for contributing something useful."
Mayor Shafique, who was a lecturer at Bucks New University for 22 years, has pledged to team up his positions as mayor and chair of the CCMR to continue to build bridges between faiths and different cultures.
He said: "The fusion is perfect; as mayor your role is to try and promote peace, harmony and good relations between everyone in the town.
"Since the events of the last ten years or so, we have shown our resilience and strength as a community and been clear that we are proud of our heritage as a multi-racial town.
"A renewed and rejuvenated community strength and spirit was born out of the ashes of those episodes, along with the CCMC, and we’ve done considerable work ever since.
"So the fusion of the two roles is absolutely perfect to promote community cohesion, better understanding and creating one community."
The grandfather of five will be supporting the Wycombe Homeless Connection and Gulshan-e-Wycombe charities during his mayoral year.
He praised the work of the connection and hopes to help "create history" by raising money and awareness about Gulshan’s ambitions plans to create a Muslim garden in High Wycombe.
The Mayor and Mayoress Perveen Shafique have already attended a host of events, including the RAF Freedom Parade and a royal garden party in Henley – but have they got used to wearing the mayoral chains?
He said: "It’s an enormous sense of history wearing this chain, it’s magic to put it on and where ever I have gone the chain captures the imagination. It is a privilege to be the first citizen of the town."