NHS Healthcare Assistant and former textile worker Coun Parwaiz Akhtar is the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen for 2023/24.
Coun Akhtar, who has been a Labour councillor representing the Bastwell & Daisyfield ward since 2004, was made the borough’s first citizen at the annual Mayor Making ceremony in Blackburn Town Hall on Thursday 18 May 2023.
62 year old Coun Akhtar said becoming Mayor of the borough that has been his home since the 1970s is “a privilege”. He added:
It is an honour that money can’t buy, and something that I never dreamed of – to first become a councillor, and now a Mayor. It’s a proud moment for me and my family, and we’re all really excited about this once in a lifetime experience.
Coun Akhtar will be supported in his Mayoral role by two Mayoresses, his wife of 29 years Shagufta and his daughter Sabbah, and also two Consorts, his sons Umar and Tauseef.
About Coun Parwaiz Akhtar
Parwaiz Akhtar was born in Jhelum, Pakistan in 1960. At the age of 10, his family moved to Great Harwood, and a couple of years later settled in Blackburn, where he has lived ever since.
He is a former pupil of Pleckgate High School. He left school in the summer of 1977 and went straight into the world of work – his first job was as an Apprentice Textile Weaver at Higham’s Ltd, in Great Harwood. After four years, he took on a machine operator role at Precision Polymer Engineering in Blackburn.
Having always enjoyed working with people, Coun Akhtar moved into community work around 1990. His first public sector role was working with young people as a Community Development Officer for the Ethnic Minority Development Association, and around the same time he volunteered at Bangor Street Youth & Community Centre.
Alongside work, Coun Akhtar studied part-time at Blackburn College to boost his qualifications, and became a Basic Skills Tutor at Training 2000 in 1995. As well as supporting people with English and Maths, he helped them get into training, further education and employment.
In 2012, Coun Akhtar started work for the NHS at Royal Blackburn Hospital. Over the next decade he had various roles including ward clerk and support worker, and currently works as a Health Care Assistant within Critical Care.
Over the last 19 years as a ward councillor, Coun Akhtar has served on many committees within the Council: lead member for the Environment Services, Adult Social Care Services, Chair of the Licensing Committee, and Chair of the Standards Committee. He also serves as a governor at Cedars Primary School in Blackburn.