A PIONEERING headteacher, committed to multiculturalism and racial harmony, spoke of her joy at representing Harrow in London's New Year's Day parade on Sunday.

Ranu Mehta-Radia, who runs the Sai School of Harrow, was the borough's VIP at the parade after being nominated via the Harrow Times.

Ranu, 49, lined up alongside unsung heroes from other London boroughs.

She toured the West End during a two-hour open top bus ride, taking in Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall, Lower Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus and Piccadilly.

She also spent News Year's Eve at a swanky city hotel and enjoyed a champagne breakfast at Whitehall Place. She was joined on the bus the Mayor of Harrow, Councillor Paddy Lyne, who presented her with a silver salver.

Ranu said: "It was beautiful. I have never enjoyed myself so much. All the 25 years of hard work have finally paid off.

"Looking over the House of Commons from the open top bus, reminiscing over the last 12 months, a trickle of tears streamed down my face as I remembered the tragedy of the July bombings.

"But thankfully the chimes of Big Ben and the trumpeters lifted my spirits and instead of making resolutions for myself, it was London that stole my heart, and I prayed that we would become a city where we all have the will and ability to work together in peace."

The Sai School, based in Abercorn Road, Stanmore, provides Saturday classes for more than 500 pupils, who learn about citizenship, compassion and respect.

Two of Ranu's pupils, Davina and Abhita Popat, of Westfield Close, Kingsbury, nominated their favourite teacher for the award.

Ranu said: "I returned from the parade knowing that giving the best citizens to London through the Sai Citizens programme is the resolution I want to commit to."

Ranu also works for Community Link Up, of Chapel Lane, Pinner, a charity helping people with learning difficulties.

"For Link Up, my commitment is to break barriers for people with learning disabilities in helping them find jobs as there is still a lot of discrimination," said Ranu.

"Only 10 per cent of those with mild to moderate learning disabilities and of working age are employed so hopefully Harrow companies will help change those figures."