Mayor's Musings - June 2024

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Mayor's Musings - June 2024

Mayor of Solihull Cllr Shahin Ashraf

It has been just over a month since I had the immense honour of becoming the Mayor of Solihull. As I reflect on this whirlwind of experiences, emotions, and duties, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude and excitement.


The mayoral diary has been incredibly busy, bursting with speeches, conversations, introductions, and more. Each day brings new opportunities to connect with our vibrant community and make a difference.

The Mayor and Consort at the 103rd Cyclist Memorial

The day after my appointment, I had the privilege of presiding over my first citizenship ceremony. Welcoming new citizens to our borough was a poignant reminder of the diverse and dynamic fabric of our community. That weekend, I attended the 103rd Cyclists Memorial Service, a solemn event that underscored the rich history and enduring spirit of our town.


Each year, hundreds of cyclists from all over the UK come together in the West Midlands village of Meriden—traditionally regarded as the centre of England—to pay tribute to fallen cyclists. Cyclists from around the country make their way to Meriden to attend a service to commemorate cyclists who have died in combat.

The Mayor with Mrs Felicia George 100th birthday

One of the highlights of my early days was the reopening of HSBC on Solihull High Street. This moment of celebration was shared with many excited faces, eager to see new growth and opportunities in our local economy.


Following this, I celebrated the 100th birthday of Mrs. Felicia George. We celebrated with a cake and shared stories of change. What an amazing woman! I still await her recipe for a long life, which I am sure holds invaluable wisdom (and possibly a secret ingredient or two?).

The Mayor visiting a cupcake stand at the Halal Food Festival

I also had the pleasure of attending the Halal Food Festival and the Berkswell Annual Prosecution of Felons Dinner. Since its inception in 1790, the Berkswell Association has been a cornerstone of our community, enriching lives and fostering a spirit of unity and collaboration for nearly 234 years.


This remarkable journey through the centuries is a testament to the enduring commitment, resilience, and vision of our members, past and present. Each event was a testament to our community’s vibrant culture and traditions.

The Mayor and Consort, DL Chris Loughran and his wife at the D-Day event in Elmdon Park

The D-Day commemeration event was particularly moving, as we remembered those who gave their lives during the D-Day landings. Their sacrifice allows us to enjoy the peace and freedom we have today.


The lighting of the beacon and the Shirley Royal British Legion D-Day service brought these reflections closer to home, connecting us deeply with our history.

Baroness Gohir OBE visiting the Mayor in the Mayor's Parlour

The Chamber has been a hub of activity, hosting numerous distinguished guests, the 41 Club, including Baroness Gohir, OBE, Professor Khursheed Wadia, University of Warwick and various other guests as well as the Deputy Lieutenant, Clive Stone.


We also had delightful and thought-provoking debates with students from Solihull Prep School and Widney Junior School. These young minds passionately argued topics such as having a pet, extending library hours, and adding extra time for sports. It was a joy to see them step into roles as Mayors and mace bearers, embodying the future leaders of our community.

The Mayor and DL with Year 2 pupils from Balsall Common Primary School at Frog Lane Country Trail

The opening of Frog Lane Country Trail was another highlight, with its special sensory walk providing a unique experience that showcased the natural beauty of our borough.


Celebrating Volunteers Week with an afternoon cream tea with the Seeds of Hope community was a heartwarming occasion. Recognising the hard work and dedication of our volunteers with awards and certificates made for a memorable and uplifting afternoon. Cream tea can get messy when you’re enthusiastically celebrating!

The Mayor and HRH Princess Royal

In addition to this spirit of inclusivity, we were honoured to have Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visit Multimodal 2024 at the NEC last week in her capacity as patron of Transaid.


Her Royal Highness’s presence underscores the importance of supporting and integrating all communities. This visit highlights the collaborative efforts across various sectors to ensure everyone feels valued and respected.

The Mayor with the members of the Solihull Faiths Forum

Additionally, speaking at the Solihull Faiths Forum AGM was a deeply meaningful experience. I spoke of how harmony among faiths is not just a lofty aspiration; it is a necessity.


In a world often marred by misunderstanding and intolerance, we should stand as beacons of hope, demonstrating that dialogue, respect, and reciprocal support can bridge even the widest gaps.


By working together, we can address global challenges such as poverty, inequality, violence, and environmental degradation.

Volunteers Week Cream Tea at Seeds of Hope Hall

Reflecting on this month, I am filled with pride and joy. My inaugural speech on unity has become a cornerstone of my messages, echoing through every event and interaction. Representing the borough of Solihull has been an incredible journey, and I have cherished every moment. I want to thank the Civic Office – none of this would be possible without the support of the Mayoral team.


These mayoral musings remind me daily of the privilege and responsibility entrusted to me by the people of Solihull. Here's to the many more experiences and opportunities to come as we continue to build a stronger, more united community together.


I look forward to next month, which looks to be equally as exciting, and I look forward to welcoming many to the Parlour.


With gratitude and anticipation,

Mayor of Solihull