British Empire Medal for councillor Clive Furness

31 December 2016 in Council and democracy and Mayor
Mayor Sir Robin Wales has offered congratulations on behalf of residents to Newham councillor Clive Furness who has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the list of New Year honours.
The BEM is awarded for ‘hands-on’ service to the community through charitable or voluntary activity. Councillor Furness has been honoured for making a significant difference to the lives of young people in Newham.

Clive, who represents Canning Town North Ward, has been a Newham councillor since 1997. He said: “This is a great honour. I am very pleased and immensely touched.

“I have pleasure in accepting the award not just for me, but also in recognition of the hard work and sacrifices that so many others, including my partner Jill, have made and continue to make to ensure young people are safe and healthy and have the best start in life.”

Councillor Furness has been a governor at several schools over the years. He is secretary of the Memorial Community Church in Barking Road, Plaistow. He founded and has run youth work at the Swift Centre, a registered charity next door to the church, for 26 years. He is also secretary and trustee of the charity.

The Swift Centre runs a number of regular clubs and activities that broaden the horizons of young people. These include football festivals, performing arts and dance programmes, cycling challenges and weekend outdoor expeditions. There is also an annual summer camp and aid missions to far flung parts of the world including Kenya, Ethiopia and Nepal. More than half of the adult volunteers at the centre are former young members.

In addition to his youth work he helped to set up Newham Night Shelter in the early 1990s. Previously he was a barrister giving free representation on employment and immigration tribunals.

Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “The awarding of a BEM to Clive Furness is a thoroughly deserved honour. He has given outstanding service to the residents of Newham not just as a councillor but also over many years through his dedicated work in support of young people. We can all be delighted for him."