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“An Honour and a Privilege”

After taking the chains of office back in May, George Cole is now settling into his role as Leicester’s first Black African Caribbean Lord Mayor.

He says he is looking forward to meeting people from all walks of life, and being a beacon of positivity in the diverse and inspiring city that he loves.

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Born in Kingston Jamaica, Councillor George Cole came to England in 1964.

He left school at 15 with no qualifications and struggled to find direction for a while until after his first degree, when he became a Principal Computer Design Engineer. He later progressed to a Principal Systems Design Engineer, gaining Chartered Engineer status, followed by nearly thirty years as a Senior University Lecturer.

Picture: Leicester City Council

During this time, he was a Radio Presenter and Producer, ran his own businesses and became a magistrate. He has contributed to the community as a volunteer in many roles and is currently a city councillor, representing Western Ward, and is Chair of the African Heritage Alliance.

He is married, is a father of two and is looking forward to what the next phase of his life has in store – the role of Lord Mayor.

“I have always believed you are as young as you feel, and I hope to bring that enthusiasm and energy to this role, which is a great honour and a privilege,” he said.

“We are not alive unless we challenge ourselves and come out of our comfort zones, and this role really requires me to do that.

“I’m actually quite a shy person but also someone who likes to challenge himself, as that’s the only way that you grow,” he added.

“I’m also a big believer in being the change you want to see, and I hope that by embracing the role of Lord Mayor, other people from the African Caribbean community will look at me and see that anything is possible.”

In his role, Councillor Cole will be involved in a variety of events and engagements throughout the year. He has chosen to support the work of the Sickle Cell Society during his time in office.

Diversity and education are two things which he is extremely passionate about, he says.

“For me, Leicester reflects what society should be in terms of its diversity – its social harmony and the way that different communities work together”, he said.

“Leicester is a city of success which is always striving for more. It’s an inspiring place to live and I’m proud to be its first citizen.”