Stalwarts get freedom of the borough
PUBLISHED: 14:31 22 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:28 11 August 2010
TWO directors of the borough s Living the Dream charity will be awarded the Freedom of Barking and Dagenham next year. Well-known businessman Jeremy West and Dagenham and Redbridge FC Managing Director Steve Thompson were picked out for their community wo
TWO directors of the borough's Living the Dream charity will be awarded the Freedom of Barking and Dagenham next year.
Well-known businessman Jeremy West and Dagenham and Redbridge FC Managing Director Steve Thompson were picked out for their community work and dedication to charities.
They will be joined by Paralympic swimming hero Beverly Gull and long-serving Village Councillor Inder Singh Jamu.
Mr Thompson said he was "gobsmacked" when he heard he was to be awarded Freedom of the borough.
He was first elected to the management committee of Dagenham FC, as it was then, in 1981, and has worked for the club ever since.
As well as being instrumental in Daggers' promotion to the Football League he has spearheaded the club's diverse community work.
He told the POST: "I think one of the reasons is that I've been involved with Living the Dream, which is fantastic.
"But also it's because the football club takes a lead with various things like football in the community, Kick Racism out of Football, and working with schools on issues like healthy eating."
Mr West is known to many as the managing director of Dagenham's oldest business West and Coe Funeral Directors.
He is chairman of the Living the Dream Trust and, like Mr Thomspon, puts in many hours to make the charity a success.
Cllr Singh Jamu has served Village ward as a Labour councillor for 20 years.
He said: "I'm delighted. It is an honour that very few people receive.
"I'm really very lucky to have served the community continuously for so long."
He was one of the first Asian councillors in the borough and in 1998 became the first Mayor from an ethnic background.
Jeremy West said: "It's a great honour. I'm very proud of our family roots which go back 225 years in Dagenham.
"Our business has been here for more than 100 years and I've always worked or lived here so it means a lot to me."
As well as his chairmanship of Living the Dream Mr West also runs a free bereavement counselling service through West and Coe called HOPE.
He is a governor at his former school, Eastbrook Comprehensive, and sits on the board of Barking and Dagenham Enterprise.
Beverley Gull MBE was nominated for her services to the community and her outstanding contribution to swimming.
After growing up in Gale Street, Dagenham, she founded the Barking Beavers Swimming Club and forged a glittering career in the pool.
As part of the Great Britain Paralympic Team she won eight medals, three of them gold. In all international competition she broke 13 world records in 11 years and won 41 gold medals.
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