Paul Ince, Sandie Shaw, Ford strike activist and town hall chief awarded Barking and Dagenham's top honour
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images
England's first black football captain Paul Ince, pop star Sandie Shaw, a Ford strike activist and a town hall chief have scooped the borough's top honour.
The new mayor of Barking and Dagenham, Cllr Edna Fergus, awarded the Freedom of the Borough to all four at a council meeting on Tuesday, April 27.
Deputy leader and cabinet member for community leadership and engagement, Cllr Saima Ashraf said: "I am absolutely delighted to see Paul, Dora, Sandie and our very own Claire receiving the Freedom of the Borough.
"I can’t think of four more deserving people.
"All of them are an inspiration to not only our community here in Barking and Dagenham, but people everywhere.
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"I would like to personally thank them for all their good work, and I hope that they thoroughly enjoyed receiving their awards."
The gong is bestowed on people who have made an outstanding contribution to the area.
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Ince grew up on the Becontree estate and started his career at West Ham United.
He went on to play for Manchester United, Inter Milan and England, becoming the first black captain of the national side.
Ince has led campaigning work to kick racism out of football.
Social activist, Dora Challingsworth, led a strike at Ford in 1984 in a struggle for women at the car giant's Dagenham factory to be classed and paid as skilled workers.
Sandie Shaw was born and raised in Dagenham before going on to have a successful career as a singer.
She scooped Britain’s first win at the Eurovision Song Contest with the hit Puppet on a String and scored nine top ten hits in the charts, including (There's) Always Something There to Remind Me in 1964.
She is a patron for charity the Robert Clack Development Trust and recorded a song for hit film Made in Dagenham.
Claire Symonds, acting chief executive at the council who led its pandemic response, was recognised for the work carried out by the local authority during the Covid-19 pandemic.