Decades at the heart of community life

Paul Gwinn, 65, is an executive member of the Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce, a director of Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club and charity fundraiser. He lives in Havering-atte-Bower with his wife Jenny, a retired headteacher.

Born and brought up in the area, I started work as an ad rep selling advertising space on the Dagenham Post in 1963 and progressed to become deputy managing director and publisher of Greater London & Essex Newspapers, later taken over by Independent Newspapers.

I worked at the newspaper group for more than 30 years before moving to RollerBowl, in Marks Gate, the major family entertainment centre. After 10 years I decided to retire and have been busier than ever with raising money for charity being at the forefront of my interests.

I have been involved with organising fun runs for more than 30 years starting with the Havering Half-Marathon and Fun Run, which continued for some 17 years.

I was delighted to get Sir Trevor Brooking’s support to start the races each year.

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At one stage the runs attracted some 3,000 participants.

I also helped organise the Dagenham Half-Marathon and Fun Run.

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I am still involved with helping organise the Barking and Dagenham five-mile and 3km fun run at the Chase in June.

I also organise the Santathon 5km fun run in aid of Saint Francis Hospice and LeukaemiaCARE. The run starts and finishes at Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club and takes place on the first Sunday of December with all of the runners wearing Santa suits.

As a great supporter of Saint Francis Hospice and as a member of the ball committee, I helped to raise �30,500 for the hospice for this year’s event.

The amount of money raised for charitable causes in and around the borough by the various events I am associated with has been tremendously rewarding. It reminds one that people in this borough are hugely generous when it comes to charity. I can only estimate the amount I have helped to raise over the years but it must come close to some half a million pounds.

Apart from supporting charities I am also secretary and treasurer of Barking and Dagenham Pub Watch. This is an organisation whose aim is to promote local pubs and clubs as enjoyable, safe places to meet, eat and drink. It also aims to stop drugs in pubs and stop underage drinking on the premises.

During my time at the Dagenham Post, I initiated sponsorship links with Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club.

This has lead to more than 20 years’ association with the club culminating in my current position as a director and seeing the club reach the amazing heights of League One last season.

Since my retirement I have been appointed as a magistrate, sitting on the North East London Bench, which represents Romford and Barkingside courts.

I enjoy helping to promote local business and have been involved with the Barking & Dagenham Chamber of Commerce, serving on the executive committee for 30 years.

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