New St Albans and Harpenden Mayors put on their chains

L-R Gill Clark, Salih Gaygusuz and mace-bearer John Hills

L-R Gill Clark, Salih Gaygusuz and mace-bearer John Hills - Credit: Archant

New St Albans Mayor, Salih Gaygusuz, little thought when he came to the city from his native Turkey at the age of 16 that he would one day become its first citizen.

Brian Ellis and his mayoral consort Roona Ellis

Brian Ellis and his mayoral consort Roona Ellis - Credit: Archant

But last week Salih, who has lived in St Albans since 1972, was sworn in as Mayor at the annual meeting of the district council.

His wife Maureen will be his Mayoress.

Salih came to the city as a teenager and worked his way up from being a waiter to owning a string of restaurants, bars and retail businesses in St Albans and beyond.

He has since retired and sold off many of his business interests but he has immersed himself in serving as district councillor for Marshalswick South since 2006.

Describing being made Mayor as a great honour, he said: “When I began my working life as a waiter, I never thought that one day I would have my own businesses and become St Albans’ Mayor.

“I am very much looking forward to meeting the many volunteers and organisations who work so hard for our community. I also hope to raise vital funds throughout the year for my mayoral charity, Keech Hospice Care.”

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A keen supporter of the hospice, which provides palliative care for children and adults with life-limiting or terminal illness, Salih has raised funds for Keech with a sponsored parachute jump and unsupported motorbike ride to Georgia.

Among the guests at the Mayor-making ceremony was Dr Emirhan Yorulmazlar, the Consul General of Turkey in London, and Salih’s appointment has attracted interest from the Turkish media.

On the same evening, Cllr Gill Clark, who has represented Wheathampstead ward on two separate occasions, was sworn in as Deputy Mayor.

* Fellow district councillor, Brian Ellis, has been elected as Harpenden Town Mayor after a year serving in the role of deputy.

He has lived in Harpenden for 30 years and is married with two adult children who attended local schools. As well as being a St Albans councillor, he is a board member of a housing association, chairman of a housing charity and a JP.

His charities for the year are The Harpenden Trust which helps individuals and families in the town who are suffering hardship, financial or otherwise, and The Southdown Play Areas Trust which is raising funds to rebuild play areas in that part of Harpenden.

He said: “They are very local and very committed inimproving the lives of those in our community.”