Former Luton mayor was an "inspiration to girls" during her year in office, say councillors

Departing mayor described as "inspiration to girls in Luton", as tributes paid at investiture ceremony v.1
Outgoing Mayor of Luton Sameera Saleem pictured waiting for the arrival of King Charles III as he visited Luton Town Hall on December 6, 2022 (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)Outgoing Mayor of Luton Sameera Saleem pictured waiting for the arrival of King Charles III as he visited Luton Town Hall on December 6, 2022 (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Outgoing Mayor of Luton Sameera Saleem pictured waiting for the arrival of King Charles III as he visited Luton Town Hall on December 6, 2022 (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Outgoing mayor of Luton Sameera Saleem has been labelled “an inspiration to girls in the town” during tributes to her year in office.

The former Leagrave ward councillor lost her seat at the May elections. Labour council leader and Lewsey councillor Hazel Simmons led the compliments at the town’s annual mayoral investiture ceremony.

Councillor Saleem was the youngest ever Luton mayor when she was chosen 12 months ago. She was presented with a past mayor’s badge and framed certificate to commemorate her term in office.

Councillor Simmons said: “It’s a great pleasure to thank Sameera for the incredible job she did as mayor.

“What a year it’s been for Luton with the mayor leading the town’s commemorations on the sad death of Queen Elizabeth II and celebrating the coronation of King Charles III, while the King chose Luton as one of his first towns to visit.

“It’s not often a mayor has to fulfil such an important role. You took them in your stride, carrying out your mayoral role with grace, dignity and style.

“You attended many local occasions, including school and community events. I was impressed you invited many local communities into the Town Hall to thank them for the hard work they do for Luton.

“More than £30,000 was raised for your chosen charities and you attended 183 events. You were a fantastic ambassador for our town.”

Labour Dallow councillor Alia Khan referred to her “excellent tenure” in the role, saying: “Sameera has been an inspiration to many other girls in the town.

“I feel she’s really set the bar high for other female mayors to come, carrying the role with such class and elegance.

“She’s done such an amazing job in putting Luton on the map and I’m so proud of everything she achieved during the year.”

Labour Poets councillor Aslam Khan explained: “Sameera comes from a political family. Her ambition was to follow in her father’s footsteps and make her mother proud.

“She was one of those fortunate people where everything landed on her lap. It wasn’t by accident, but by her mother looking down on her.

“You’ve done the job gracefully and eloquently. You’ve certainly set standards.”

Labour Leagrave councillor Maria Lovell thanked her on behalf of the ward residents “for your hard work”, adding: “I miss you and wish you all the best in the future.”

Councillor Saleem replied: “I wasn’t expecting the tributes, but it’s really nice to hear. Thank you to my colleagues past and present for helping and supporting me during the year, as well as council officers.

“I’ve made some fond memories and had the privilege to attend some historical events. It’s been a fantastic experience. I’ve left my role with a wealth of knowledge I’ll always treasure.

“I also loved attending events within our town run by the local community. It emphasized we’re such a unique town and sent out the message ‘we’re multicultural, we’re diverse and we’re here’, working together side-by-side.”

Labour Central councillor Mohammed Yaqub Hanif is her successor as town mayor.

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