Police chief, volunteer and long-serving councillor represent Barking and Dagenham in Queen’s Birthday Honours

PUBLISHED: 17:41 18 June 2012

Rita Giles MBE

Rita Giles MBE


A former police borough commander, a community champion and a long-serving former councillor are among the Barking and Dageham heroes named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Ch Supt Matthew Bell was in charge at Barking and Dagenham force before he moved to Lambeth. He was made MBE for his work in helping to build better relations between the community and police.

He said: “I’ve had a fantastic 27 years in the Met and this award is the icing on the cake. It was a challenging time in Barking but the plans worked and it’s a completely different borough now to the one it was before.”

Also awarded was retired PC Stephen Rhodes who received the Queen’s Policing medal for service to the Met’s volunteer police cadets and the establishment of youth clubs across the borough.

Local resident and honorary alderman – a traditional title given to long-serving councillors - Frederick Jones was made MBE.

Mr Jones was born in Liverpool and moved to Barking in 1932. He served as a councillor for 42 years, and until the local election in May 2006, was the longest serving member, having been elected in 1964.

He was appointed Freeman of the Borough in 1985 and was mayor in the early 1990s.

He dedicated himself to various causes and committees including the libraries committee, education committee and leisure and amenities group. He was appointed honorary alderman in 2006.

Rita Giles was also made MBE for services to the community.

She was born in Bow in 1935 and came to Dagenham aged four after she and her family were ‘bombed out’ during the war.

She was one of 12 children and started doing voluntary work at just 14–years-old.

Youth work, housing issues and community cohesion have been her main areas of interest over the past four decades. But her dedication to the community also extended to law and she was Justice of the Peace for 23 years at Barking Court.

A charity worker, whose group carry out extensive work in Barking and Dagenham, was also made MBE for her years of work preserving local heritage.

Judith Garfield, the director of Eastside Community Heritage, based Ilford Lane, said: “It’s quite an important resource and it’s an honour to see my work and the work the charity does recognised like this.”

The charity was founded in 1993 to document the life and culture of East London and has 1,700 oral histories and more than 24,000 pictures as well as videos and other archives.

Council leader Liam Smith praised the recipients and said the recognition was “a testament to the selfless service they have rendered to local people throughout the years”.

He added the honours also help “put Barking and Dagenham on the map”.

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