THE FIRST black lady mayor in the UK, who was the mayor of Slough, unveiled a commemorative stone in her honour last week as a new development of council homes prepares to open.

Lydia Simmons, 78, was the mayor of Slough in 1984/85, becoming the first ever black lady mayor in the whole of the UK.

Last Thursday she revealed the stone at a housing development named in her honour, Lydia Court in Elliman Avenue. The new development consists of 11 council homes on the site of the former Eschle Court in the same road.

Mrs Simmons gathered with officials from Slough Borough Council and Morgan Sindall Investments whose partnership, Slough Urban Renewal (SUR), are finishing the building so it is open for the summer.

The development is a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments.

Councillor Zaffar Ajaib, commissioner for housing and urban renewal, said: “I can think of no better person to have a new council housing development named for than Lydia.

“Lydia has a long history of service to Slough residents, particularly in the area of housing, and we wanted to honour her incredible service, loyalty and advocacy to the town.”

Mrs Simmons was born in Montserrat in the Caribbean in 1938 and came to Slough in 1960, serving as a councillor from 1979 to 1994 and from 1999 to 2007. She was chair of the committee responsible for housing from 1985 to 1994, shadow commissioner for housing and commissioner for social exclusion and neighbourhood services.

She was also given an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list in 2011.

Lydia Court also includes a ground floor three bedroom apartment built to wheelchair standards, with its own front door access, dedicated parking and garden area.

The specially designed property is to be allocated to a family currently on the housing waiting list and housing officers are working with occupational therapists to ensure the needs of the family are met, a spokesperson for SBC said.

David Freer, development manager for Slough Urban Renewal, said: “Lydia Court will be a tremendous asset to the housing stock in Slough and naming it reflects the long association Lydia Simmons has with the town.

“SUR are proud to be associated with the scheme and we are looking forward to seeing the units occupied later in the summer when the scheme is handed over to the council.”