Gloucester’s new Asian mayor suffers heart attack

By Jaideep Sarin


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Gloucester/Jalandhar : Hardly four days after taking over as the 527th mayor – and the first Asian to do so – of Gloucester city in England, Jalandhar-born Harjit Gill is in hospital after suffering a heart attack.

The 52-year-old popular Labour councillor from Barton and Tredworth in Gloucester has been admitted to the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and was being kept under observation.

"I am feeling much better now. I never expected this to happen. It was shocking for me. I am waiting for the medics to discharge after all the check-ups. I am yearning to be back and do justice to my new assignment and people of Gloucestershire," Gill told IANS from his hospital bed.

He was admitted to the hospital Friday after complaining of chest pain while at his post office. A post office customer called the ambulance that rushed him to the hospital.

"We are so happy to hear that he is fine. We were a bit concerned earlier but now we have spoken with him," his friend said in Jalandhar.

He was elected mayor of this city in May – famous for its docks and the 16th century Saint Peter's cathedral where the first Harry Potter movie was shot.

Gill, who hails from fairly well-to-do Dakoha village on outskirts of the bustling Jalandhar city in Punjab, had officially taken over as Gloucester mayor May 21.

His mayor-making ceremony was interrupted by bomb hoax.

He had been the first ever elected Asian sheriff of a city (Gloucester) in Britain in 2005. He had earlier served as mayor of Barton – an area of Gloucester that uniquely elects its own mayor – for two years.

Gill said that the heart attack could have been the result of hectic activity and an eventful month in the council polls in Gloucester.

"I am back on my legs. But I am waiting for an all-clear from doctors," he said.

The Labour party had a fair share on seats in the new council and Gill was elected mayor despite the Labour party being routed in other civic elections in Britain.

Gill, a keen hockey player, had moved to Britain in 1978 after doing his post-graduation in politics from Jalandhar. He is married to Britain-born Jasminder and has two children.