TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Leamington mayor and councillor.
Mota Singh passed away following heart failure on Sunday (January 31). He was 81-years-old.
Mota was born in 1939 in India and arrived in Leamington on May 11 1963.
He worked at the Post Office in Priory Terrace, as a postman and postman-driver for 28 years.
The community-spirited resident served as a Labour councillor for a quarter of a century. He was elected to Leamington Town Council in 2003 and became mayor of the town the following year. He was also Warwickshire County Council’s first Indian member.
Mota said one of his proudest moments as mayor was when he travelled to Bo in Sierra Leone to sign the friendship link between the West African city and Leamington, which is supported by the One World Link charity and thrives to this day.
A significant legacy of his work is the Buwan Kothi International Trust, which raises funds for projects in Haryana, a rural community in India.
The trust was established in 2006 to support rural regeneration and building closer ties with remote communities in the state.
However, tragedy struck for Mota in 2007 when his son and founding trustee Gilly passed away.
Following Gilly’s death, Mota worked tirelessly to raise the profile of the trust and was instrumental in securing funding for the Gilly Mundy Memorial School which opened in 2008.
The school provides assisted places, allowing a minimum of 15 per cent of children from unprivileged backgrounds to have the same education as those from wealthier families.
In 2015, after winning a court settlement after a reporter falsely claimed he had been convicted of fraud, Mota donated the £13,000 settlement to Leamington’s Sikh temple Gurdwara Sahib.
Mota was also a founding member of the Sydni Centre – the community hub in Sydenham which runs groups and schemes to support the wellbeing of surrounding residents.
A spokesperson for the Warwick and Leamington Labour party paid tribute to the former councillor, saying: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our lovely Mota. He will be sorely missed by his Labour family and the South Leamington community.
“He worked hard representing us for over two decades. He was always very supportive to fellow councillors, a real team player. He knew everyone in the community and everyone knew and loved him.
“A lovely and gentle man who always had time to listen and showed great compassion for all of us. Rest in peace dear Mota. Thank you for your friendship and care. We will miss you. Love and empathy to his family at this very sad time.”
Leamington mayor Susan Rasmussen said: “Mota Singh cared about all the residents that he served. As Mayor, he represented all communities and was personally responsible for promoting the integration of different cultures and communities into the life of our town, and making sure their contribution was recognised.
“Mota was greatly respected by all of us who had the opportunity to work with him. He was an excellent public servant and will be greatly missed by everyone at the council.”
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western told the Observer: “Mota was possibly the purest, most decent and gentle person I have ever met.
“He was selfless but determined and his work demonstrated his immense generosity of spirit and great public service.
“His passing is very hard for me to come to terms with. But for the moment, I want simply to remember his enormous contribution to our community and his extraordinary 40 years as a local councillor.
“It is a simplistic measure of his service but that has few, if any, equals.
“My thoughts are very much with his family.”