The appointment of the Teesside's first Asian mayor has been hailed as “history in the making”.
Cllr Mohammed Javed was made the mayor of Stockton in a virtual council meeting on Wednesday - becoming the first Black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) man on Teesside to hold the ceremonial post (June 24).
Cllr Javed became the borough’s first Asian councillor in 2007 - and his Labour colleague Cllr Louise Baldock looked back on his career so far before he was officially appointed the new mayor.
The member for Parkfield and Oxbridge was born in 1960 in Kashmir after his family was forced off its land in the partition of India in 1947.
Councillors were told how he worked up through poverty - moving to Karachi, in Pakistan, to take his A-levels before moving to Abu Dhabi and then working in the NHS in England.

Councillor Mohammed Javed
Councillor Mohammed Javed 

Cllr Baldock said: “Javed was determined that education was the way out of poverty, and the limitations of life in the village, and was prepared to work as hard as it took.
“After his A-levels, he chose to work in order to put his younger brother through his education, and medical school - so he moved to Abu Dhabi where he worked in PR for a large leisure complex.
“That brother is now Dr Shafique, a Middlesbrough GP, so he has always felt it was worth the sacrifice.”
Cllr Javed moved to Stockton in 1983 and started a family with his wife, Shabana.
He gained a degree from Durham University before working in the NHS for 13 years helping people with disabilities and embarking on his political career.
Cllr Baldock told councillors he won a public speaking competition in Kashmir when aged 10 - with the award gifted by the Prime Minister of Kashmir.
“The Prime Minister showed an interest in Javed and they remained in contact, as did his son, the current Prime Minister,” she added.
“I would think that is probably where his political interest began.
“So, you see, Cllr Javed is a man of influence with friends in high places - regularly speaking with national and international politicians, taking up delegations to Westminster, Brussels, and wherever else the need arises.
“He is in a great position to put Stockton firmly on the map during his time in the office of mayor.”

Cllr Baldock added he had worked “tirelessly” in Parkfield and Oxbridge - and was confident he would do the same as mayor.
.Council leader Cllr Bob Cook hailed Cllr Javed’s nomination as mayor as “history in the making”.
He said: "Cllr Javed was the first councillor from the BAME community in Stockton - and he’s going to be the first BAME mayor of Stockton.
“That’s going some way to ensuring community cohesion within the borough goes forward.”
Cllr Javed replaced Conservative Cllr Lynn Hall in the post - with Cllr Kevin Faulks, of the Ingleby Barwick Independent Society (IBIS), chosen as deputy mayor for the upcoming year.

Councillor Lynn Hall
Councillor Lynn Hall

The new mayor said he would try his best to follow in Cllr Hall’s footsteps in raising money for charity - adding he hoped to promote the borough both nationally and internationally.
“I am very proud to become the first Asian mayor and to represent all the people of Stockton," he added.
“The borough has many multicultural communities and I’m looking forward to working with them to ensure everyone has equal opportunity to improve their lives.
“I already do a lot of charity work and I’ll be carrying this on throughout my mayoral year.
“I know this is a difficult time for our residents due to the many challenges posed by the coronavirus - but I can assure people I will be working hard to help our communities.”