TO celebrate 10 years of British citizenship ceremonies taking place in Hillingdon, the council organised a special ceremony hosted by the Mayor, Cllr Allan Kauffman, at the Civic Centre.

The ceremony involves taking an oath to the Queen and pledging loyalty to the United Kingdom.

New British citizens and their families were treated to live music by Vyners School band, received a certificate and commemorative scroll and attended a mayoral reception.

Cllr Kauffman said: “Over the last 10 years, we have seen more than 20,000 people from across the globe taking the final step in the process of becoming a British citizen in our borough.

“Many of them have committed to live, work or study here in Hillingdon and have already made a significant contribution to life in this country.

“We pride ourselves on giving new British citizens a fitting and memorable welcome and have been delighted to see how much this means to them and their family and friends.”

Navreet Bajwa, 30, a food technologist from Hayes, became a British citizen at the ceremony. She moved from India to Austria before her family decided to come to the UK.

She said: “I migrated with my family in 2007 and, when the decision was made, I was really relieved because I knew I would be able to communicate with people and have better job prospects.

“The UK has given me opportunities to progress and make the most of my education and I feel very lucky that we moved.”

Manesh Nampally, 34, an operations manager from Hayes, also became a British citizen that day. He attended the ceremony with his wife and son.

He said: “When I moved to this country, I started working as a supervisor and, by working hard and increasing my skills, I was promoted. We wanted to settle here because you get recognised for what you do and there is a chance of a better life here than back home in India.”

Since 2004, people from a wide range of countries, including America, India, Lithuania, Nepal and Ireland, have chosen to have their British citizenship ceremony in Hillingdon.

Citizenship ceremonies were introduced by the government 10 years ago to add a sense of occasion to becoming a British citizen.