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Manjula Sood has been elected the Lord Mayor of Leicester


NRI Manjula Sood Councilor, UK's first woman mayor


Leicester, UK, May 09, 2008
Sant Ahuja

NRI Manjula Sood, presently Councilor, has been elected the Lord Mayor of Leicester and is looking forward to serve the citizens of Leicester and represent the City as its First Citizen from Thursday May 15th 2008. Councillor Sood, Indian- born will be the first Asian female Lord Mayor in the United Kingdom and is honoured to have received the accolade.

She said "I like to take this opportunity to thank my constituents and the Leicester community as a whole for all your help and support during my time as an Elected Mayor. Since the sudden death of my husband, my sons and I have found it difficult but with your support I have been able to carry out my duties as an Elected Member."

She was elected City Councillor for the ward of Latimar, in Leicester East following the sudden tragic death of her husband the late Councillor Paul Sood in 1996. She have been an elected sitting councillor for over 10 years. Prior to politics, she was a school teacher for almost 20 years.

She was heavily involved within the local community and her efforts were the driving force for the Labour Party Merit Award in 2004 and Leicestershire and Rutland Women of the Year 2006 Award. She have lived in Leicester for over 38 years and have two sons.

Councillor and now Mayor, Sood holds a BA and MA. During her PHD in India, she was part of a high profile research programme with the world renowned John Hopkins University. Unfortunately, after two years in to her PHD, she took a sabbatical due to her marriage and did not have the opportunity to complete this.

Sood arrived in the UK in 1970 and has been living in Leicester ever since. Once in Leicester, Councillor Sood attended Leicester University where she completed her Post graduate training in teaching and upon qualifying, Councillor Sood was a primary school teacher for almost 20 years which, was a benchmark at the time, as she was one of the first Asian female teacher in Leicester in 1973. She was instrumental in introducing multiculturalism in to local education and her services were recognised by a visit to her class by the then Secretary of Education, the Late Sir Keith Joseph.

She entered politics through supporting her late husband, Councillor Paul Sood in his political career. Paul was one of the first ethnic County Councillor’s in the country when he was elected in 1982 and served the citizens of Leicester for almost 14 years before his untimely death in 1996. Councillor Manjula Sood stood and won with an impressive majority at Paul's by-election, setting a precedence by becoming Leicester City’s first female Hindu Councillor.

She faced and successfully overcame many challenges during her early political career, as she had to juggle learning politics with supporting her two children and looking after her elderly mother. She quickly adapted and has flourished and achieved an array of accolades and commanded the respect of her fellow Councillor’s and the community of Leicester City.

She has worked with many MPs during her political career, The Right Hon. Patricia Hewitt, former Minister for Health, The Right Hon. Keith Vaz (former Minister of State for Europe), the Late Jim Marshall, Sir Peter Soulsby and Lord Janner QC.

Manjula Sood has received the following awards/accolades during her political career:

  • Leicester and Rutland Women of the Year Award for 2006, the first Asian Women to receive the prestigious award
  • The Labour Party Merit Award 2004 for contribution to the Labour Party. The first Asian women to attain the honourable award
  • Listed in Red Hot Curry's top 300 most influential Asian women in the UK 2002 Triangular Media Group Global Award for outstanding contribution to local politics 2006
  • Honorary LABA (Leicestershire Asian Business Association) Honorary Award for assistance to small businesses 2002
  • Finalist for the AWA Award for Work in the Public Sector, 2007
  • Finalist for the Lloyds TSB Jewell Awards, Midlands Section, 2007
  • One of the first female Asian primary school teacher in Leicester in 1973
  • Leicester City's first Hindu female Asian elected Councillor, a position held since 1996 UK’s first Asian female High Bailiff
  • First Asian Female to receive the Leicester and Rutland Women of the Year Award for 2006

In 2007, NRI Harjit Gill became first Asian Mayor of Gloucester city