Henna is Worthing's first Labour mayor since 1930s

Worthing has its first Labour mayor since the 1930s and its first ever female Muslim mayor.

Henna Chowdhury, who was elected today (Friday May 20), takes over from Conservative Lionel Harman.

Newly elected Tarring councillor Rita Garner will be deputy mayor, taking over from Richard Nowak.

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Cllr Chowdhury will be the first Labour mayor since the 1930s and the first female Muslim mayor in Worthing – following in the footsteps of Jack Saheid who was the town’s first Muslim mayor in 2004

New council leader Beccy Cooper and new mayor Henna Chowdhury

Her husband, Millad Chowdhury, with whom she has three children, will be mayor’s consort.

She said: “The mayor’s office has seen many great men and women that have left a tremendous mark on the fortune of the borough and the people who live within it.

“I was born in Bangladesh and, at a young age, I moved to England with my family.

“Sadly in 2018, my brother passed away and I wish to pay a special tribute to him today.

“My mum, my husband, our beautiful daughters, and I are proud to call Worthing our home.

“Looking at the history of Worthing from its origin as a hamlet, it has developed into the beautiful, diverse community we see today.

“As your mayor I will serve with every fibre of my being.

“I set out to preserve and promote a spirit of compassionate service, addressing the needs of everyone in our communities to improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person.

“The tradition and the role of the mayor is both an honour and a calling with responsibilities.

“I would like to extend to every single member of the council, from both sides of the chamber, my personal gratitude for your confidence in me and I look forward to our positive engagements and debates in the chamber to serve the people of Worthing.”

Cllr Chowdhury, who is fluent in three languages and works as a community interpreter, was elected in Gaisford in 2019 and is also Tarring’s county councillor.

The mayor will support three charities: West Sussex Mind, Superstar Arts, and Worthing Mencap.

Outgoing mayor Cllr Harman thanked his wife and former councillor Karen for her support as mayoress, and both Sean McDonald and Richard Nowak who served as his deputies.