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Trio are given MBE honours

PUBLISHED: 14:56 19 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:31 11 August 2010

Paula and Ernie Clark who now run the Hopefield Animal Sanctuary in Brentwood

Paula and Ernie Clark who now run the Hopefield Animal Sanctuary in Brentwood

THREE BARKING and Dagenham residents have been honoured as Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen s birthday honours list. Councillor Charles Fairbrass has been honoured for his services during 37 continuous years as a member of the

THREE BARKING and Dagenham residents have been honoured as Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's birthday honours list.

Councillor Charles Fairbrass has been honoured for his services during 37 continuous years as a member of the council.

He said: "To be named in the list is the highlight of my 37 years with the council. I have now worked as long in the service of the people of the borough as I did in my own career, and it is a particular honour to be recognised in this way.

"I was delighted to receive the letter saying I had been awarded the honour, but I am looking forward to the investiture even more. The visit to the Buckingham Palace, with my wife Joan, will be a very proud day."

Cllr Fairbrass, who has been leader of the council for ten years, has held numerous Labour Party posts before and after having been elected to the council in 1971, including election agent for the Greater London Council, chairman Dagenham Constituency party, as well as chairman of several council committees.

He served as Mayor in 1984, held the post of deputy leader of the council between 1990 and 1998 and has been leader ever since. He is to stand down in the next election in 2010.

Two other Dagenham residents will be on the Buckingham Palace guest list, waiting to receive their MBEs for their outstanding achievement and service across the entire community.

Paula and Ernie Clark, founders of Hopefield Animal Sanctuary in Brentwood, have been rescuing sick and unwanted animals for 25 years.

Paula Clark, 75, said: "It's good to be recognised. It will be a great big boost for us. It's lovely for the animals. I'm really looking forward to the awards ceremony."

Paula and husband Ernie went on a mission to stop the maltreatment of animals after they first heard about the mistreatment of horses on the Rainham Marshes in the early eighties.

"We heard about the Rainham horses starving and dying on television, there was so much abuse. I packed up my job as a doctor's receptionist."

They rescued some of the Rainham animals and founded a sanctuary in Basildon before moving to Brentwood. "We started with a quarter of an acre of land, four horses, four goats and a couple of chickens," said Paula.

The non-profit organisation now keeps about two hundred animals on 70 acres of land.

Paula, who has not had a holiday in years, said: "We only live in a rented flat, but we have all the animals. We have done nothing that we have not wanted to do."

The upkeep of the sanctuary relies on donations. Anyone wishing to help should call (020) 8590 6273, or go to www.hopefield.org.uk


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