From Gujarat to the UK: Yakub Patel Makes History as the Mayor of Preston
An accomplished Indian immigrant, Patel becomes the first Muslim councilor in the history of Preston City Council
Gujarat-born Yakub Patel has made a mark abroad by securing the mayoral seat in Preston, a historic city in Lancashire, UK. The former councilor has remained an active participant in local community affairs since his immigration to the UK in 1976, post his graduation from Vadodara University.
The new mayor of Preston, a city whose mayoral tradition spans back to the 14th century, Patel has a longstanding association with this northern England town. Patel said, "I have a deep connection with this city," reflecting on his career that kickstarted with Preston Corporation in 1979. His political journey began in earnest in 1995 when he was elected as a Labor Party councilor for Avenham ward, becoming the first Muslim councilor in the history of Preston City Council.
During his tenure at Preston Corporation, Patel held several key positions, including Revenue Inspector, Transport Inspector, Assistant Chief, Chief Inspector, and Operations Manager, before retiring in July 2009. He was also on the board of directors of Preston Bus, a local bus operator, and served as a health and safety representative and president of the ACT union.
As the city's first citizen, the Mayor of Preston is an essential figurehead, representing the city and its inhabitants during civic and ceremonial events. As part of this esteemed position, Patel will serve as mayor for one year, followed by a year as deputy mayor.
Patel's tryst with politics began early in life at the age of 10, following in the footsteps of his late father, who was a stalwart supporter and member of the Indian Congress Party led by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In his political journey in the UK, Patel has been serving as the deputy mayor of Preston since May of the previous year, and this week, he officially assumed the position of mayor for the 2023-24 term.