History was made in Melton last night (Tuesday) with the investing of the borough’s youngest ever Mayor and its first from an ethnic background.
Tejpal Bains received the chains of office at the annual meeting in the council chamber in front of a packed audience including 75 family and friends, at the age of just 27.
Mr Bains will be known to many in Melton as the son of Yadvindir and Raj Bains, who have run Welby Lane Stores post office and convenience store for nearly 24 years.
He worked in the shop when he was growing up and is now a partner in the town law firm, Latham and Co.
It has been a remarkable rise in his local government career, becoming Mayor just two years after first being elected as a borough councillor, in the Melton Sysonby ward.
He said: “I’m incredibly proud to be the first Asian Mayor of Melton and it’s going to be an absolute honour to serve the borough for the next year.
“Being so young, I hope I can bring fresh ideas to the role and a fresh perspective.”
Mr Bains has had a warm reception from customers at the family shop since news broke of him becoming the new Mayor, succeeding Councillor David Wright.
“People are absolutely delighted for me,” he said.
“I know a lot of people in the town and I remember when I was campaigning to get on the council every other person I met knew me from when I was a four-year-old running around my parents’ store when they first took it over.”
Mr Bains has served for the last year as Deputy Mayor under the outgoing Mayor, Councillor David Wright, who told Tuesday’s annual meeting: “I know Tejpal’s exuberance will shine through in his year of office.”
Councillor Malise Graham, who proposed Mr Bains for the role, said: “It is inspiring to see someone so exuberant about becoming our Mayor.
“It comes from his upbringing and I know Tej is so grateful to his parents for the start in life they gave him.
“He is hoping to repay them by becoming justifiably proud of him as he serves as Mayor of Melton Mowbray over the coming year.”
His nomination was seconded by Pam Posnett, who said has helped show him the ropes of being a councillor since he was elected two years ago.
“I remember taking him around to meet people when he was first campaigning for election two years ago but I needn’t have bothered because everyone knew him,” she told the meeting.
“This will be a very different Mayoral year. It will be highly energetic and he will be an excellent ambassador for Melton Mowbray.”
Mr Bains’ mother, Raj, took the chains of office to act as her son’s consort for the coming year.
Councillor Pru Chandler, ward member for Bottesford, was elected as Deputy Mayor.
She told Tuesday’s meeting: “Tonight we have elected one of our youngest councillors as Mayor and I must be one of the olderst councillors.
“The next year will be a nice blend of young and old.
“I have three grandsons of voting age so I can deal with young ones.”
This week’s Melton Times will carry a full interview with Melton’s new Mayor and his family.