Ex-footballer, Ford strike leader and Iranian embassy siege cop awarded Barking and Dagenham's highest accolade

Paul Ince, Dora Challingsworth and Trevor Lock

L-R: Paul Ince, Dora Challingsworth and Trevor Lock have received the freedom of the borough. - Credit: Jimmy Lee Photography

England's first black football captain, a social activist and a policeman taken hostage in an embassy siege have all been awarded the borough's highest accolade.

Mayor of Barking and Dagenham, Cllr Edna Fergus, awarded the three people with the freedom of the borough at an awards ceremony on Thursday, September 23.

The award is the highest which can be bestowed in Barking and Dagenham and is given to people who have made an outstanding contribution to the borough.

Former footballer Paul Ince grew up on the Becontree Estate and went on to have a glittering career on the international stage.

Paul started his career at West Ham United FC before playing for Manchester United, Inter Milan and England.

He has led "invaluable" work campaigning to kick racism out of the game and was the first black captain of the England national side.

The town hall noted this is a huge achievement and one everyone is immensely proud of.

Social activist Dora Challingsworth led the Ford women in the strike of 1984 and fought for female colleagues at the plant to be classified and paid as skilled workers.

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Dora comes from a long line of Barking and Dagenham women who have fought for gender equality.

A strike at Ford's in 1968 became a landmark dispute in the UK, leading to the first legislation in the world to end pay discrimination between men and women.

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Former police officer Trevor Lock also received the freedom of the borough in recognition of his bravery during the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980.

The siege, from April 30 to May 5 in 1980, saw six armed men storm the Iranian embassy in South Kensington and 26 people taken hostage, including Trevor.

He was also recognised for helping people with disabilities through his work with the Independent Living Agency.   

Cllr Saima Ashraf, deputy leader and cabinet member for community leadership and engagement at the council, heaped praise on those awarded.

She said: "I am delighted to see Paul, Dora and Trevor receiving the freedom of the borough. I can’t think of three more deserving people.

"All of them are an inspiration to not only our community in Barking and Dagenham but to people everywhere.

"I would like to personally thank them for all their good work."

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