KNAPHILL councillor Saj Hussain is the borough’s new First Citizen, after the official mayor-making ceremony in the council chamber last week.

After three years as Woking’s deputy mayor, he is more than ready for the role, which he describes as “a great honour and privilege”.

Cllr Hussain moved to Woking from Pakistan, aged 11, in 1968. He attended Goldsworth Secondary School and tried out various career paths, including nursing, before becoming sub-postmaster at Knaphill Post Office. 

“My family has always been involved in local politics and helping people. I was the first Asian to join the Red Cross in Woking,” he said. “I joined as a cadet, which was a good eye-opener for me.

“Over the years I’ve also been a school governor, an active member of the Royal British Legion, and supporter of both Knaphill Residents’ Association and Goldsworth Park Community Association. I always want to help, and I thought the best way to do this would be to become a councillor.”

He was first elected to Woking Borough Council in 2012 and to Surrey County Council in 2013 to represent Knaphill and Goldsworth West.

During his mayoral year, Cllr Hussain has chosen to support and raise funds for LinkAble, a Woking-based charity that helps children and adults with learning difficulties. 

Speaking about this, Cllr Hussain said: “Having had a child with additional needs, I know how much extra support is required. LinkAble gives people with learning difficulties the opportunity to build confidence and develop their social skills in a safe environment so that they can enjoy life. 

“Our youngest daughter was born with a deformed heart and died in 2007, aged 15. We were constantly in and out of hospital, and caring for a child with extra needs is very demanding. We were lucky to have family close by but not everyone does, which is why organisations like LinkAble are a godsend. My aim is to raise funds to help them improve their facilities.”

Cllr Hussain has four other children and nine grandchildren and describes himself as “blessed”. He has appointed his daughter, Mrs Faaira Sahi, a teacher at Hermitage School, as his Mayoress who will continue to support him as she has done for the past three years as Deputy Mayoress.