'People person' Bhupen Dave becomes Leicester's new Lord Mayor

A man who has dedicated his life to politics and council work has received the chains of office to become Leicester's new Lord Mayor. Councillor Bhupen Dave, who represents the city’s Rushey Mead ward, will serve as Lord Mayor for Leicester until May 2025.

Born in Uganda, Coun Dave was among the many Asians who came to Leicester in the early 1970s after the dictator Idi Amin expelled the Indian population from the African country. After studying at universities in Bristol and Southampton he came to work for Leicestershire County Council as a social worker, later joining Leicester City Council, where he became director of community care.

His first role as a councillor came in 1983 when he was elected first to the Highfields and later the Belgrave wards of the city. He was deputy leader of the city council for many years and also served as a local councillor for Oadby & Wigston Borough Council from 2012 to 2019.

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He was re-elected to Leicester City Council in May 2023. He described himself as a "people person" and has been behind many community and business projects in the city over the years. As well as being a founder member and chairman of ASRA Housing Association - which provided specialist housing for vulnerable elderly people - he has also supported youth provision and accommodation for vulnerable women and children with specific needs.

He was instrumental in establishing twinning links between Leicester and the city of Rajkot in India, and he has also served as a trustee and director for many charities and community organisations. He said: “I’m honoured to be serving Leicester as Lord Mayor.

"Throughout my life, I have always promoted community harmony by treating all communities fairly and equally. I look forward to working with people from all walks of life to promote Leicester as a beacon of good community relations.”

The Lord Mayor is a ceremonial role that goes to a different city councillor each year. Their role is separate from that of the city mayor, who is in charge of the day-to-day running of the city council and creating new policies.

City mayor Peter Soulsby said: “In 50-plus years of attending mayor-makings, it gives me particular pleasure to welcome Bhupen to the role as he has been a personal friend for over 40 years. I remember him approaching me when he was setting up ASRA Housing, something I was very pleased to support. I wish him well in his year as Lord Mayor for Leicester.”

Coun Dave is married to Usha, who will support him as Lady Mayoress throughout the year. They have two sons, a grandson and granddaughter. Teresa Aldred will be the new deputy Lord Mayor, while Manjula Sood will remain as High Bailiff.