A councillor says he enjoyed the "inclusivity and kindness" he experienced as he looks back on his year in office as chairman at Watford Borough Council.

Councillor Asif Khan became chairman in May last year after succeeding Cllr Rabi Martins and the months that followed included a host of civic duties on behalf of the council.

The council chairman not only holds a key role in meetings but they are incredibly active within the community meeting people from a variety of backgrounds and mainly finding out first-hand about so much of the great voluntary work that goes on behind the scenes.

But the coronavirus pandemic brought Cllr Khan's time as chairman to a rather abrupt end.

He says that three big fundraisers had to be cancelled as did visits, and the official handover ceremony has had to be put on hold too.

But before March, Cllr Khan was able to take part in many events around Watford and he has picked out a few of his highlights and memories from the year.

He said: "For me, one of the standout events was Holocaust Memorial Day in February. Dame Helen Hyde led a poignant memorial event at Watford town hall.

"For me as a Muslim, it was wonderful to work with Jewish people for example and I worked with Dame Helen very well.

"Watford is a kind and inclusive town and for me that really stood out."

Watford Observer:

Cllr Khan hosts a Holocaust Memorial event at Watford town hall with Dame Helen Hyde

Watford Observer:

Cllr Khan also highlighted the Remembrance Sunday event held near the town hall in November, and the online virtual 75th anniversary VE Day celebrations.

Visiting schools, handing out medals were also part of the brief which Cllr Khan says he really enjoyed. Sometimes he would have four or five events a day.

Thinking back to when he took on the chairman role, Cllr Khan said: "When I was elected, I thought I just wanted to make a difference.

"Initially I saw the role as quite a stuffy image with the chains and robe and the protocols associated with that. I didn't mind letting others wear the chain.

"I was also proud to become the first Muslim chairman in Watford."

Watford Observer:

Cllr Khan at a civic service held at North Watford Mosque

Watford Observer:

Cllr Khan at the High Sheriff's civic service where he was joined by fellow mayors and chairmen in Hertfordshire

Following his year in office, Cllr Khan added: "Hopefully I carried out my duties to a high level. It was more than what I expected. I wasn't aware of the amount of charitable and voluntary groups that work in Watford. This role also rises above politics and helps unify the town. I will miss being chairman."

He has passed on his best wishes to Cllr Aga Dychton, who was deputy chairman, and now holds the chairman role for the next year.

Cllr Khan said: "I'd like to thanks Aga for supporting me in my role. I think she will be a wonderful chairman. I'm here if she needs me for any advice and support.

"I'd also like to thank the mayor of Watford Peter Taylor, MP Dean Russell, and my leader Cllr Nigel Bell.

"All of the political heavyweights in the town have worked with me together tremendously."