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Ex-SLAF officer elected Mayor of a Welsh town



Pontypridd Town Mayor, Councilor Desmond Paul and Mayor’s Consort,, Mrs. Anoma Paul

By Sujeeva Nivunhella
reporting from London

Councilor Desmond Paul of Sri Lankan origin was elected Pontypridd Town Mayor recently at the Annual General Meeting of Pontypridd Town Council. Desmond represents the Treforest Ward and is a member of the Welsh Labour group.

Former Flight Lieutenant in the Air Force in Sri Lanka, Commanding Officer in charge of re-establishing the Sri Lankan Air Force operational division in Koggala moved to London in 1985 and worked as a chief security officer for British Airways. After two years, he moved to Wales at the request of his sister who was living there at the time. He started his own business in Treforest – Desmond’s Newsagents, which he ran for 35 years.

Talking to Sunday Island, the Mayor of Pontypridd, South Wales, Desmond Paul said, “I want to do something significant to help the community. I’m supporting three charities as Mayor. First, I want to do something to help end homelessness in the area, to help all those who are vulnerable, young and old to have a better life. So I’m supporting the homelessness charity The Wallich.

“I’m also supporting the MND Association, a charity that helps people with motor neuron disease. I particularly want to support this charity as my cousin, Ramesh Vethanayagam, has recently been diagnosed, He is only 60-years old and is now in a wheelchair. So raising as much as possible and being able to donate something to that charity is a priority.

“My third charity is Cerebral Palsy Cymru, and that is in support of my grandson Isaac Paul. My son has twins who were born prematurely, and Isaac has had a lot of complications. He’s been helped a lot by this charity, who have helped to improve his health.

“Also, as I’m a veteran of the Air Force, I will be supporting the Armed Forces veterans. I’m an active member of Valley Veterans RCT and the Royal Welsh Veterans, Caerphilly branch and I will do whatever I can to support veterans as well as my main charities.

“I’m going to do whatever I can to leave a legacy from my time as Mayor. I’m so proud to be the first Sri Lankan Mayor of Pontypridd.”

He said that he was happy that his wife, Anoma Paul, has agreed to become Mayor Consort.

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