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Barking Town Hall flag flown at half-mast after death of former councillor

PUBLISHED: 15:48 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:14 29 August 2017

Barking Town Hall (Picture: Alex Shaw)

Barking Town Hall (Picture: Alex Shaw)

Alex Shaw

The flag was flown at half-mast early this week to honour former Cllr Darrin Best.

Barking and Dagenham Council flew its flag at the Town Hall at half-mast to remember a former councillor.

Cllr Darrin Best, who represented Village ward between 1990 and 2004, passed away at his house in Bulgaria earlier this week. He was 51.

The Labour councillor was born in Barking and attended Barking Abbey Comprehensive School.

He first became active in local poitics at age 16, and later went on to graduate with a 2:1 in history and politics at University College Wales, Aberystwyth - now Aberystwyth University.

Upon his return to the borough, he worked in the council’s housing department before joining a major housing association.

He was elected to the council in 1990, aged just 24.

Best was a member of multiple committees during his two decades on the council, including housing, education and finance.

In 2004, he swapped Barking for the Black Sea and moved to the coastal town of Balchik in north-eastern Bulgaria.

“I just wanted to do something different and adventurous, something new,” he wrote in 2012.

There he set up a building and real estate company, taught and maintained a regular blog on property and life as an expat.

Former colleague and cabinet member for economic and social development Cllr Cameron Geddes said: “His ‘bon viveur’ approach to life, laughter and personality soon made him a new set of friends amongst both the local British and Bulgarian communities and he was soon very active in the social life there.

“He keenly followed the horse racing and football in Britain, whilst enjoying trips to Varna Opera House in his adopted country.

“His departure has saddened his friends in Bulgaria and the many ex-colleagues across Barking and Dagenham with whom he was still in regular contact as his interest in local politics continued across the miles and throughout the years, not least when matters concerned either Barking Town Centre or his beloved Village ward.”

He is survived by his parents Terry and Pat, and his sister Michelle.

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