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New young mayor of Barking and Dagenham elected

PUBLISHED: 11:26 14 March 2018

Wesley Oparaugo. Picture: LBBD

Wesley Oparaugo. Picture: LBBD

©Jimmy Lee

A new young mayor of Barking and Dagenham has been elected.

Wesley Oparaugo, 15, of Robert Clack School, has replaced Vaisaly Gnanapandithan and becomes the borough’s fourth young mayor.

Wesley, who is the first male to hold the position, was one of five candidates who stood to be elected.

Members of the Barking and Dagenham Youth Forum voted for their preferred candidate after hearing each give a speech summing up their manifesto pledges at the Vibe Youth Centre on Monday. March 5.

Wesley said: “I am extremely excited and deeply honoured to have been elected as the Young Mayor.

“I really wanted to be the Young Mayor because I want young people to feel that they can speak up, regardless of whatever they are going through.

“I have been elected for a reason and I vow to give my all to make sure the young of Barking and Dagenham are heard, and not just seen.

“I am also very honoured to be the first male Young Mayor, and I hope to pave the way for more to gather confidence and go for roles like this.”

Wesley’s term will run from March 2018 until February 2019 and he will work alongside the Barking and Dagenham Youth Forum to choose a local charity to fundraise for via a vote.

Once a charity has been selected the group will plan fundraising events for the year in an effort to raise as much money as possible.

Cllr Evelyn Carpenter, cabinet member for educational attainment and school improvement, heaped praise on the new appointment and also thanked the outgoing young mayor for her contribution to Barking and Dagenham.

She said: “I am very pleased to welcome Wesley to his new post as young mayor for the borough.

“I have no doubts that he will be a major success and will do everything to help the youth of Barking and Dagenham.

“Also, I would like to thank Vaisaly Gnanapandithan who did a great job as young mayor last year and raised a great deal of money for Barking and Dagenham Young Carers.”

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