Thu, 21 June 2012
30 residents, originally from 20 different countries, became the borough’s newest British citizens after swearing allegiance to the Queen at a special Jubilee Citizenship Ceremony arranged by Hounslow Registration and Nationality Service last week (Wednesday 13 June).
The ceremony was held in the presence of the Queen’s representative, Deputy Lieutenant Paul Kennerley, who presented citizenship certificates to the newly naturalized subjects.
Other VIP guests at the special ceremony included the Mayor of Hounslow Cllr Pritam Grewal, Mayoress Cllr Ajmer Grewal and Deputy Mayor Cllr Mindu Bains also attended, along with Chief Executive Mary Harpley.
The Mayor, Cllr Pritam Grewal, who also presented the new citizens with commemorative medals and a Jubilee mug, said: “It gave me great pleasure to meet the borough’s newest citizens, even though many of them have been living here for some time and are already well established in our community.
“With representatives from 20 nations including several Commonwealth countries, it is very fitting that they receive their British citizenship in the month that we all come together as a nation to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
“Her Majesty has always embraced diversity and welcomed different cultures, and this very much reflects our own borough. I hope that our newest citizens will continue to prosper in Hounslow, and wish them well for their futures.”
Three of the new citizens explained what brought them to Britain and what it meant to attend the special Jubilee ceremony.
Josephine Darkoh from Ghana, west Africa, said: “I came here in 1996 to join my family and for the past three years I’ve been studying at Buckingham University to become a nurse.
“I wanted to become a British citizen because my two children were born here and I thought I’ve been living here for so long now it would be good to become a citizen.
“It’s a coincidence that I’m becoming a citizen in the Jubilee year but I think it’s great. I like the Queen and I consider myself a royalist so it makes the whole occasion very special.”
Kamran Khan, originally from Pakistan, has been in Britain since 2000. “I came here to study as I felt the education system here was very good.
“Getting my citizenship in the Jubilee year is just a coincidence but it is such a privilege to be part of it and something I will remember. I opted to be part of the Register office’s special Jubilee ceremony because it’s one of those special occasions when I wanted to join in. I even went to see the Jubilee pageant on the Thames and got very, very wet but it was worth it!”
Maleka Rahman came to Britain from Afghanistan. She said: “I have been living here for nearly six years after leaving Afghanistan. I chose to come to Britain because I have cousins here who have lived here for a while and they said Britain is a safe place to live.
“Becoming a citizen in 2012 was just by chance. It was the earliest opportunity for me to do it but it will be quite something to remember. I do like the royal family. It was just amazing watching all the celebrations. To be at this Jubilee citizenship ceremony is great. I feel lucky to be here and this makes me feel special.”