I MOVED to the UK from Bangladesh in 1965 to work in the financial sector; first living in London, then Tring in Hertfordshire.
In 1972 I applied for and was granted UK citizenship, and what surprised me was how the whole process was little more than an exercise in bureaucracy.
Everything was done by post, with my citizenship confirmed by a simple letter.
Ever since, it has always bothered me that what should have been a significant event in my life was reduced to little more than paperwork. Nothing was done to make me feel like part of the country that I had just joined, which is why I so enjoy presiding over Harrow's citizenship ceremonies.
What we do in Harrow is how I wish things had been done in my time. The ceremonies give people the chance to meet and chat with the mayor or a councillor, to ask council staff any questions they might have, and to learn a bit more about both the UK and Harrow. What was a mere procedure in my time is now a real occasion, one which those attending really seem to enjoy.
From my point of view, I consider presiding over the ceremonies a real honour and privilege.
Every year about 2,000 people become UK citizens in Harrow. In the last 12 months alone, people born in more than 100 different countries have taken part in our ceremonies, and I hope they will remember the experience for many years to come.
COUNCILLOR GOLAM CHOWDHURY Greenhill ward Harrow Council