A former Brent mayor has been praised for the "gentle dignity" he brought to causes such as mental health, women's rights, affordable housing and the elderly.

Ramesh Patel, who was Brent mayor in 2001-02 and represented Queensbury as a councillor on-and-off for 22 years, died four days before Christmas, aged 85.

“Ramesh cared deeply about Brent,” the current mayor Cllr Orleen Hylton said. “His long years of service stand as testimony to his true character as a dedicated representative of the people of Brent.” 

Council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt added his tribute to the trade union activist, saying: “Ramesh was a tireless advocate for Queensbury and a committed community leader.”

Ramesh Patel campaigned for his local Gujurati community and spent decades supporting families who needed care.

But he also championed the rights of the wider community after being elected councillor in 1998, campaigning on issues like women’s rights, affordable housing, care of the elderly and mental health.

He was soon dedicating his time on the authority’s planning committee.

Committee chair Ketan Sheth paid tribute to his former Labour party colleague, saying: “He was one of the first Labour councillors in Queensbury and was much trusted and hugely respected.

“I was proud that he served on my planning committee for several years, using his platform in profound ways.

“As mayor, he gave a gentle dignity to everything he did, like his groundbreaking work to combat the stigma facing so many struggling with mental health who were suffering in silence.”

Cllr Patel also took up the baton for better care for the elderly, for advancing women’s rights and equality and for building genuinely-affordable housing for those in need as a member of the authority’s planning committee.

Cllr Sheth, who chairs the committee, said: “Ramesh would telephone me for a chat every so often, offering words of advice and always giving a helping hand, telling me to make the role of chair my own, like he did.”

He served four terms as a councillor, from 1998 to 2006 and again from 2010 to 2022. The next council meeting on January 26 is to pay tribute with a minute’s silence.

Ramesh Patel, who was born in India in 1938, leaves two children, Mahesh and Sheila, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.