Town's first Asian mayor dies aged 76

COUNTY councillor Jaswant Singh Bains, who was Northampton's first Asian borough councillor and town mayor, has died aged 76.

The father-of-four represented the Spencer ward in Northampton and was active in local politics since arriving in the UK since 1948.

The borough and county councillor – known to friends and colleagues as Jas – had until recently been staying at the Cynthia Spencer Hospice.

But he died yesterday at his Dallington home following a long period of ill heath.

Councillor Bains began his political career as a Labour member on Northampton Borough Council in 1987, after being elected the Kings Heath and Dallington ward.

He became the town's first ethnic minority civic leader in 1996 and launched a joint mayor's charity appeal with the Chronicle & Echo.

It raised a staggering 45,000 to set up a minibus service for the disabled.

He also served on the county council since 1993 and stood down from his borough council role at the May 2003 elections.

Mr Bains was also a member of the Northampton District Health Authority.

Born in the Punjab in India, he came to Britain in 1948 and following his arrival in the town, he constantly worked to represent the Sikh community.

He helped to form the Siri Guru Singh Sabha, Northampton's Sikh temple, and was president until May as well as representing the town on the East Midlands Equal Opportunities Forum.

Friends and colleagues paid tribute to the councillor who has been described as always being a pro-active member of the community.

Leader of the county council, Mick Young (Lab, Lumbertubs) said: "He has always been supportive to me personally as a county councillor and wanted the best for his community and town.

"Jas dedicated a large proportion of his life to the benefit of others and to his credit, he will be sadly missed."

Close friend and Northampton Mayor Terry Wire Mayor also expressed condolences to Councillor Bains' family.

He said: "Jas's generosity and kindness were well known and, on a personal note, he was a very good friend to me over the past twelve years.

"He will be missed by the local Labour party, by the council and by the town."