EAST Lancashire’s youngest-ever first citizen said he wanted to encourage more young people into local politics.

Coun Nadeem Ahmed, 32, is Pendle’s new mayor and he said that not enough young people showed an interest in their local communities.

He said: “There is a real shortage of younger councillors, particularly young Asian women.

"Most of my friends just think it is boring, or something for older people, but more young people need to stand up for their communities and help make their areas a better place.

“There is no use complaining that nothing is ever done or that something is bad, you can do something about it and make a difference.

“There is a lot of talent out there and it could be put to very good use locally.”

Coun Ahmed has been a councillor since 2004 when he was elected to represent the Whitefield ward of Nelson for the Liberal Democrats.

He is married to Rukhsana and they have two children, Ali Hassan, three, and Hirah Fatima, one.

Taking the mayoral chains, which his son calls his ‘necklace’, was a bitter sweet moment for Coun Ahmed as it came less than a month after the death of his inspirational father Saghir, 66, after a short illness.

He said: “My father encouraged me. He was a Lib Dem activist and worked very hard for the people of Whitefield.

"He had lived there all of his life – since moving to Nelson from Pakistan.

"We were very close and good friends as well as being father and son.”

This year he will combine his full-time job with raising funds for charity.

He has named the official mayoral charities as Pendleside Hospice, Rainbows in the Holden Centre, Barrowford, and Starlight, which grants wishes to seriously or terminally ill children.