Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz OBE pays tribute to former Newham councillor Paul Sathianesan

Paul sathianesan

Following the sad news of his passing, the Mayor of Newham expressed her deepest condolences to the family of former Newham councillor Paul Sathianesan who devoted twenty years of dedicated public service to residents in the former East Ham North ward between 1998 – 2018.

In a tribute to his commitment to social justice and his achievements as a councillor locally Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, the Mayor of Newham said: 

“Paul will be forever fondly remembered for his boundless energy, love and dedication to local residents in East Ham and his commitment to equality and social justice. He was amongst one of the most accomplished and passionate community champion’s, driven by passion to do good and make right any injustice. His achievements as a Newham councillor, one of the first of Sri Lankan heritage, were many and he made such a big difference in the lives of those he served as well as the East Ham North neighbourhood he represented. He was a committed activist and willing to speak truth to power, and will be forever remembered for his warmth and kindness; as well as his honesty and ethics.”

“Even after his time as a councillor, he continued to serve the residents of East Ham and Newham’s Tamil communities. For many years he was the welcoming face of Newham for many residents at their Citizenship ceremonies and organised vibrant Pongol celebrations annually. I know that he will be missed by so many and on behalf of everyone at Newham Council, I offer my deepest condolences to Paul’s family at this time of loss and sadness.”

Paul Sathianesan served five terms as the ward councillor for the East Ham North ward (now known as Plashet ward) from May 1998 to May 2018. He was celebrated for his leadership and commitment to public service; and as a councillor held several positions, including the Deputy Chair of Newham Council in 2008 and between 2014 - 2018. 

Paul’s remarkable journey began as a refugee from Sri Lanka, having been forced to leave his homeland due to political persecution. He arrived in East Ham with little more than hope and determination but overcame significant challenges securing a position with the Refugee Council. In recognition of his bravery and dedication, Paul was awarded by the 'Taking A Stand Award' by the Home Office for his efforts in addressing community issues. His legacy in East Ham is marked by his tireless advocacy for refugees and his work to foster unity and investment in the area. Paul was also a prominent figure in celebrating cultural events, as founder and event organiser for Newham’s Pongal Lights that celebrates the Tamil New Year. He worked tirelessly to promote peace and community spirit and his efforts brought together the diverse communities of Newham. 

Published: 10 Jul 2024