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    A PACKED funeral service was held for a former Labour councillor described as a “true ambassador of Harrow” yesterday.

    Packed funeral service for Harrow's first Asian mayor

    Packed funeral service for Harrow’s first Asian mayor

    Former Queensbury ward councillor Keeki Thammaiah, 76, passed away following a heart attack on his sofa while his wife Naila made dinner in their kitchen last Monday evening.

    The former Wembley High School teacher was elected as a councillor in 1992 and served the borough up until the elections last year, when he stepped down.

    He was appointed mayor in 2000 and during his time on the council also sat on licensing and planning committees.

    He was born in Coorg, in South India, and came to Britain in 1964, teaching maths at Wembley High in the Seventies before moving on to City of Westminster College in 1985.

    London Assembly member Navin Shah spoke at the service referring to Mr Thammaiah as an “elder brother.”

    He said: “He was a laid-back, quiet person with a smile and a glint in his eyes. For Keeki there were no long speeches, no aggression, no controversy, wherever Keeki went as the mayor he gave measured and short speeches in his own inimitable style.

    “He was respected and loved and naturally carried himself as a true ambassador of Harrow.

    “Keeki’s achievements and his contribution to the community are a matter of pride and celebration.”

    Former Harrow mayor Alderman Keith Toms knew Mr Thammaiah for 20 years.

    He said: “He was so honest and related so well to the public. Harrow became a better place because of him but he did things quietly.

    “Keeki stood out simply for all the things he did to improve the area but he never did it loudly.

    “He was very laid-back, unruffled and so dependable.

    “He achieved everything through quietly working within the community and laying the foundations for a better area.”

    Mr Thammaiah is survived by wife Naila, son Ponnu, granddaughter Sonali and grandsons Adit and Alok.

    Son Ponnu, 38, was one of the pallbearers carrying his father’s coffin yesterday.

    He said: “I was so touched by everybody. The visitors and messages have been non-stop.

    “I was living at home when he was mayor and we are so proud of him and the work that he did.

    “There was a great turnout for the funeral so thank you to everyone who came and who has supported us at this time.

    source: http://www.harrowtimes.co.uk / by Suruchi Sharma / Tuesday Apr 05th, 2011

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    Keekira A. Thammaiah, who was the first Asian Mayor of the Harrow City, London, passed away on Mar. 29, 2011 in London. He was my contemporary in Bangalore from 1960 to 64 while practising Law, though senior to me. While in Bangalore, we were very close friends and when he left for London, we were in touch with each other through letters, Christmas, New Year greeting cards and whenever he came to India. 

    While I was in London in 1992, he hosted a dinner at his house where he had invited two MPs and some Labour Party friends of his, he himself being a La-bour Party North Harrow Council Member. Later, once again while I was in London, I had an opportunity to spend some time with him and he was the Mayor of Harrow at that time.

    I remember the evening I was having dinner in his house with other friends over drinks when I had a call from Mahaguru Yogi Arka of Mysore, who was camping in London at that time, as anticipated asking me to meet him. Since we were partying, we were already into our third peg of whisky and I was in a dilemma if I should go and meet Yogi Arka, who at that time was on the ascendance on his path to the stature of a Godman. I sought Thammaiah’s advice and with his trademark smile on his visage said, “Well, don’t worry, the place is just five minutes drive from here.”

    He volunteered to drive me to the place, assuring me that visiting the Yogi after consuming alcohol should not be a problem as Rishis of ancient India were known to enjoy Somarasa and Bhang, which are intoxicants.

    Naturally, in his passing away, I have lost a very good friend. Immediately, I wrote a letter of condolence to his wife Naila and son Ponnu.

    Acknowledging my letter, they sent me an e-mail giving me some more information about the last journey of my friend.

    As in life, so also in death, he was well-honoured by the community people, friends and politicians as well. His civic funeral was attended by a large number of people, dignitaries, Mayors, MPs and the media.

    He was elected President for the forthcoming World (Europe) Kannada Conference to be held in London in August 2011. He had hosted a meeting at his place in this connection just the day before he passed away.

    His wife Naila sent me a copy of the tributes paid to Tham-maiah (known among Coorgs as Thammy) by Kodagu Association of UK and also by Kannada Balaga of UK, which is being produced below:

    The tribute

    Born: 10.02.1935 Died: 29.03.2011

    Late Mr. Keekira Thammaiah was born in Birunani, Coorg, India. He did his schooling in Coorg and Pre-University (A levels) at Government College, Bangalore.

    He went on to do his Bachelors in Arts at St. Joseph’s college, Bangalore.

    Whilst at University, he displayed his leadership qualities and political ambition by becoming the ‘President of Students Union.’

    He pursued his education in Bombay at University College, Bombay and obtained M.A & LLB between 1957-60. At the University, he was the Chairman of the Students Union.

    He returned to Bangalore in 1960 and was an Advocate at the Bangalore High Court until 1964 when he moved to United Kingdom to do Bar exam. He married Naila in 1971, who would be for the next 29 years, his pillar of support.

    He went on to be a Lecturer in Business Law at West-minster and other colleges.

    He was elected as the Labour Councilor in 1994, Deputy Mayor of Harrow in 1999 and became the first Asian Mayor in May 2000.

    He was very active in his community and took his civic duties very seriously. He raised considerable amount of money for the Northwick Park Hospital Children’s wing (£20,000) and was the Governor of 3 schools in Harrow.

    He rubbed shoulders with royalty in that he met the Queen three times, had tea with Princess Margaret and spoke at the Parsi community gathering in the presence of Prince Edward & Sophie.

    He retired in May 2010 after 20 years service to the local community. His friends fondly called him ‘Keeki.’

    He is survived by his loving wife Naila of 30 years; Son: Ponnu; Daughter-in-law Sunali and two young grandsons Adit and Alok.

    Funeral service was held on 4th April, 2011 at 12.00 pm at Golders Green Crematorium, Hoop Lane, London, NW 11 7 NL.

    Mourners joined the family for refreshments afterwards at Members Lounge, 1st Floor, Civic Centre, Harrow, Middle-sex HA1 2XY.

    Memorial donations in memory of K. A. Thammaiah may be made to Diabetes UK, 10 Parkway, London NW1 7AA.

    source: http://www.starofmysore.com / by K.B. Ganapathy

     

     

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