Three residents granted Freedom of the Borough
Three residents of Barking and Dagenham have been granted the Honorary Freedom of the Borough at a celebratory event held at Eastbury Manor.
The event took place on Thursday 13 September, and saw Emdad Rahman, Evelyn Karstadt and Joyce Rushbrook receive the highest distinction that can be awarded by the council.
Introductions by Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, and her Worshipful the Mayor, Councillor Sanchia Alasia, were followed by the award presentations.
Mr Rahman and Ms Rushbrook received the Freedom of the Borough in recognition of their outstanding service to the community.
Mr Rahman has lived in Barking and Dagenham for 11 years and has flown the flag for the borough on a local, national and international level. His achievements include carrying the torch for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, volunteering for the Barking and Dagenham Talking Newspaper, and finishing runner up in the Barking and Dagenham Peace Week Awards.
He is also a co-ordinator for a homeless soup kitchen, has appeared in a national advert for Alzheimer's research and has visited France to support Care 4 Calais in its work with international women and child refugees.
Ms Rushbrook was born in Dagenham in 1933 and was a founding member of Barking and Dagenham Mencap – creating a club for adults with learning difficulties at the Osborne Centre 33 years ago.
Since that time her club have performed in front of large audiences at the Royal Festival Hall and Sadler’s Wells Theatre, as well as representing the borough in bowls, darts, snooker and ten-pin bowling competitions.
"I can’t think of three more deserving people"
The Freedom of the Borough was also granted to Ms Karstadt, in recognition of her outstanding volunteering efforts with the council and the community for 22 years.
Now 90-years-old, she has worked in a whole host of voluntary roles, including with the library service, in the tea room at Barking Hospital, and she currently runs a coffee morning on Thursdays at Barking Learning Centre – with no desire to stop volunteering any time soon.
Councillor Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement, heaped praise on the three volunteers: “I am absolutely delighted to see Emdad, Evelyn and Joyce receiving the Freedom of the Borough, and I can’t think of three more deserving people,” she said.
“Their dedication to helping others is quite exceptional, and all three of them should be an inspiration to people everywhere.
“I would like to personally thank them for all their good work and I hope that they thoroughly enjoyed receiving their award at the Leader’s Summer Reception.”