London: The newly-elected mayor has spoken of how he fell in love with Aylesbury after moving to the town from Pakistan-administered Kashmir(PaK) when he was just 10 years old.
Tuffail Hussain, 53, came to England in June 1971 with his father and two brothers and learned to speak English before attending Quarrendon Secondary School and The Grange.
Tuffail, who lives in Elmhurst with his wife Tazeem, said: “It’s a great honour and it feels great to be representing my hometown. I love to serve the people.”
The father-of-six recalls how excited he was to fly to the UK and his awe at the difference between Aylesbury and the tiny village where he was born, in the Sehnsa district of PaK.
Tuffail, whose day job is a taxi driver in Buckingham, said: “It was so different. Aylesbury had so many roads and so many cars. I grew up with only one dirt road running through the village. No link roads, and no electricity or gas.”
Helping others has always come naturally to Tuffail, who used to help the older members of the Asian community after school.
He said: “They used to wait outside the school gates and I would take them to the doctors, or the shops, where I would translate for them. My father appreciated that.”
He first took an interest in local politics when he was leafletting for the local consulate in the 1990s, and he now sits on both the town and district councils after being elected in 2003 and 2006 respectively.
He said he has had around 200 phone calls of congratulations since the news of his new title was made public.
He said: “I had a call from the Prime Minister in Azad Kashmir, inviting me for celebrations back home because I am the first one from the area to become mayor.”
The cabbie is also an avid cricket fan, and was captain of the Aylesbury Pakistani cricket team from 1984 to 2009. Though he no longer plays, he still enjoys watching the matches in Alfred Rose Park.
Tuffail and his new deputy Allison Harrison will be sworn in at an official ceremony at Aylesbury College on Friday.