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Tribute to former Barking and Dagenham mayoress who set up shopmobility service

PUBLISHED: 13:43 10 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:43 10 February 2020

Eileen Bunn (fifth from left) with her husband Laurey and members of their family. Picture: Jeff Rolph

Eileen Bunn (fifth from left) with her husband Laurey and members of their family. Picture: Jeff Rolph

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The funeral of a former mayoress who set up a shopmobility scheme with her husband is to take place.

Eileen Bunn and her husband Laurey were mayor and mayoress of Barking and Dagenham in 1995 when they got the wheelchair lending service off the ground, improving mobility access for the borough's disabled people.

Born in Hackney on November 23, 1935, Eileen moved to Gorse Way, Rush Green after marrying nightclub manager Laurey in June 1962. She remained at the couple's home for the rest of her life. Laurie passed away in 2003 at the age of 69.

Her nephew, Dave Bunn, said: "She was a loving, interested person, well known in Romford and Barking and Dagenham. She was very prim and proper, well spoken and immaculately dressed. She was upright. I will really miss her."

Dave, a bobby in the area, recalled how proud the family was when Laurey and Eileen became mayor and mayoress after attending a Westminster Abbey ceremony.

"They were just ordinary folks and ardent supporters of Shopmobility," he added.

Eileen worked as a secretary at Ford's while carrying out her duties as a Labour Party councillor. She was a private person outside of council chambers but "diligent" in carrying out her town hall duties.

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Although she and Laurey didn't have children of their own, the couple regularly welcomed family to their home, enjoying games of Cluedo and Monopoly.

A keen gardener, Eileen was also a regular at Rush Green Community Association and Social Club in Romford.

"Her garden looked like it was manicured," Dave said.

She was a keen supporter of a number of charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, Saint Francis Hospice and St John Ambulance.

After her sister succumbed to the disease, Eileen also supported Breast Cancer Campaign, which went on to become the research charity Breast Cancer Now.

"She supported all of them. She was quite a charitable person," Dave said.

Eileen died peacefully at home of natural causes at the age of 84 on December 30. Her funeral is to take place at Hornchurch Cemetery at 1pm on Monday, February 17.

There is no church service but a dedication will be given at her graveside.

Donations can be made to any of the charities Eileen supported.

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