Family reunited with dog after ex-councillor knocked down

Charles Fairbrass after picking up his MBE from the Queen, with wife Joan

Charles Fairbrass after picking up his MBE from the Queen, with wife Joan - Credit: Archant

The wife of a former council leader found out that her husband has been seriously injured – after an 11-year-old boy phoned to say that he had found their dog.

Charles Fairbrass after picking up his MBE from the Queen, with wife Joan

Charles Fairbrass after picking up his MBE from the Queen, with wife Joan - Credit: Archant

Alderman Charles Fairbrass, 79, was rushed to hospital after being hit by a car in Dagenham Road at about 7am on Thursday.

His wife, Joan, only realised something was wrong when an Eastbrook pupil phoned to say that he had found 11-year-old greyhound Ruby, who Mr Alderman had been out walking.

“A boy rang up asking if I had a greyhound, and then I realised something must have happened, so I retraced Charles’s normal route and found him in an ambulance,” Joan explained.

“The boy rang later to check on my husband which was really nice of him – without him I wouldn’t have found out what had happened so soon.”


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Mr Fairbrass, who served as a Heath ward councillor for 39 years, was treated for six broken ribs, a broken collar bone, shoulder and cheekbone, severe bruising to the legs and a head injury that resulted in internal bleeding to the brain.

He could remain in hospital for another few weeks.

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“I’m very anxious [about Charles], but I’m optimistic that with his determination he’ll get through, although it could be a while,” Joan added.

The boy had been cycling to school when he saw Ruby being chased down Dagenham Road.

After following the dog, he was able to alert Joan and return the dog back to its owner, although he was late for class.

“I was riding to school and just saw a dog in a high-vis jacket running along, and some people were chasing it,” the boy told the Post.

“Its lead got caught around his leg so I rode over to it and there was a number on its collar – I phoned the number and a lady said the dog was hers.

“Anyone could have got to him because its leg was caught, but I got there first because I was the only person on a bike.”

Mr Fairbrass twice served as mayor of Barking and Dagenham and was made an MBE in 2008

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