Councillor Iftakhar Hussain has been unveiled as the new Mayor for Blackburn with Darwen.

Cllr Hussain was first elected to serve Council in 2004 and has been representing the Bastwell and Daisyfield ward for over 15 years where he has worked to improve the lives of his constituents.

Only his wife and two daughters attended the Mayor making ceremony due to social distancing restrictions.

He has served on many committees including: Licensing where his position was as Chair, Planning Committee, Scrutiny Committee and under the Culture and Leisure Department, when he was a Lead Member for that service.

Councillor Hussain moved to Blackburn at the young age of nine, he went on to study at Pleckgate High school which was followed by Blackburn College. He has been married to Sabiran for over 30 years; they have three sons, two daughters and are proud grandparents to three grandchildren. Councillor Hussain was successful within the catering industry in his younger years, and has also worked at the Citizens Advice Bureau, which has allowed him to help many residents across the borough over the years.

Speaking today he said, "Some might say it is quite a strange time period to be mayor but it is a very interesting one. I think it is wonderful to be in a position which can help unite communities at this difficult time for everyone.

"Since yesterday people have been ringing me and congratulating me. It is really positive and I look forward to meeting people when restrictions ease.

"I would like to thank the people of Bastwell, my family and friends and my colleagues for their support."

Cllr Hussain has worked with many organisations and community groups, and especially enjoyed his time as Vice Chair of the Mela Committee during the Millennium Celebrations. He regularly finds time to get involved in various charity functions and proactively helps raise funds for those in need. Councillor Hussain is very keen on keeping up with the majority of sports, especially cricket and football. In his free time, he enjoys expanding his knowledge through reading history books.

This year the Mayor has adopted two beneficiaries for funds raised by the Mayor’s Charity. These will be 'The East Lancashire Hospice' which seeks to ensure that all patients with palliative care needs have access to a range of services when they need them for as long as they are needed and 'The ARC (Asylum and Refugee Community) Project' which has worked with Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Blackburn with Darwen Borough since 2004. ARC aims to create a community where those fleeing war, violence and persecution can feel safe and supported as well as getting the vital practical help they need.