Council grants Honorary Freedom of the Borough to trade union activist, Managing Director of the Council, 60's pop star and former professional footballer
As part of an online Council Assembly meeting last night (27 April), the new Mayor, Her Worshipful, Cllr Edna Fergus was on hand to award four very special people with the Freedom of the Borough - the highest award that can be bestowed in Barking and Dagenham to people who have made an outstanding contribution to the borough.
I am absolutely delighted to see Paul, Dora, Sandie and our very own Claire receiving the Freedom of the Borough, and I can’t think of four more deserving people
Recipients for this year’s Freedom of the Borough awards are:
Footballer Paul Ince who grew up on the Becontree Estate and went on to have a glittering career as an international footballer. Paul who started his career at West Ham United FC also went on to play for Manchester United, Inter Milan and England and has led invaluable work campaigning to kick racism out of football. He was the first black captain of the England national side – a huge achievement and one we’re all immensely proud of in the borough.
Social activist Dora Challingsworth, who led the Ford women in the strike of 1984 and fought for women at the plant to be classified and paid as skilled workers. Dora comes from a long line of Barking and Dagenham women who have fought for gender equality.
Singer Sandie Shaw, who was born and raised in the borough before going on to have a highly successful career as a singer that saw her pick up Britain’s first ever win at the Eurovision Song Contest and score nine Top Ten hits in the charts. She continues to be an ambassador for Barking and Dagenham today, serving as a patron for the Robert Clack Development Trust and she even recorded a song for the hit film ‘Made in Dagenham’.
Claire Symonds in her role as Acting Chief Executive of the council in recognition of the work carried out by the council’s workforce during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020-2021. The year from March 2020 saw one of the most challenging periods on record for the council, its residents and people all over the country. Claire led the council’s response to the pandemic which saw frontline services maintained, help provided to our most vulnerable residents and partnership work with our local voluntary sector.
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement, Cllr Saima Ashraf heaped praise on those awarded: “I am absolutely delighted to see Paul, Dora, Sandie and our very own Claire receiving the Freedom of the Borough, and I can’t think of four more deserving people. All of them are an inspiration to not only our community here in Barking and Dagenham, but people everywhere.
“I would like to personally thank them for all their good work, and I hope that they thoroughly enjoyed receiving their awards.”