Paul Ince, Sandie Shaw, Ford strike activist and town hall chief awarded Barking and Dagenham's top honour

Sandie Shaw performs at the Vintage Festival, Goodwood in West Sussex.

Sandie Shaw has been awarded Freedom of Barking and Dagenham. - 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.

Paul Ince

Paul Ince played for England 53 times during a distinguished football career. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

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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.

Dora Challingsworth who used to be a shop steward during the 1984 Ford workers strike

Dora Challingsworth was a shop steward during the 1984 Ford workers strike. - Credit: Ken Mears

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.

British singer sandie Shaw singing the winning entry "Puppet on a String," at the Eurovision Song Co

Sandie Shaw sings the winning entry Puppet on a String at the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna on April 8, 1967. - Credit: DPA/PA Images

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.

The Huggett Women's Centre being opened by 60's pop star Sandie Shaw.

Sandie Shaw opened Huggett Women's Centre in Dagenham in 2016. - Credit: Ken Mears

She is a patron for charity the Robert Clack Development Trust and recorded a song for hit film Made in Dagenham.

Claire Symonds

Claire Symonds was recognised for her role in the borough's response to the Covid-19 pandemic. - Credit: LBBD

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.

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