Mayor tells borough's youth: 'Be ambitious for Redbridge'

Redbridge mayor Cllr Thavathuray Jeyaranjan

Redbridge mayor Cllr Thavathuray Jeyaranjan - Credit: Redbridge Council

Redbridge’s mayor has urged young people in the borough to get involved in politics.

Councillor Thavathuray Jeyaranjan, 62, was elected last month as the borough’s ceremonial mayor for the next year.

In a message to youngsters, he said: “There are youth councillor nominations or you can join a party – any one you like – make yourself attend the meetings and learn from them. 

“All the policies are online on the council website – be ambitious for Redbridge and read the parties’ manifestos.”

The mayor added that he would be happy to offer advice to anyone who is interested in local democracy.

Speaking about his political career, he said he stood as a local Labour candidate twice before being elected as a councillor in 2010.

Professionally, he has worked as an engineer on railway projects including the Jubilee Line extension and Crossrail.

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Although the mayor’s role is ceremonial, he said he plays an important function chairing council meetings and representing the borough at events.

Since being elected mayor, he has already attended more than 20 street parties and one nursing home as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

He said: “At all full meetings I control the council meetings, I am very honoured and happy to do that.

“You make sure everyone is polite, if there is any personal argument I get up from my chair. If I get up that means all the others have to sit down.”

Cllr Jeyaranjan got involved in politics as a child, as his father and uncles were politicians in Sri Lanka.

He moved to the United Kingdom as a student in 1981 to study engineering but decided to settle here after civil war broke out in the south Asian country.

As the number of refugees from Sri Lanka grew, he started a committee to help asylum seekers settle in the UK.

Cllr Jeyaranjan will be supporting two charities during his year as mayor, disability charity One Place East and the King George and Queen’s Hospitals Charity.