Newham greats recognised at council's AGM

20 May 2016 in Council and democracy and Events
At a meeting of Newham Council’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), held on Thursday 19 May at Old Town Hall Stratford, 11 local people and organisations were bestowed with honours.
The Freedoms of the Borough and the title of Alderman/Alderwoman were conferred on some special people as way of  expressing civic pride and recognising their contribution to the borough.

The awards are the highest the council can bestow. Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “We offer them sparingly, but when we do, they are awarded to remarkable people. Each recipient has made a significant contribution to Newham life past and present. All are ambassadors, helping to improve how we are perceived locally, nationally and internationally.”

The honours are two of the last vestiges of local government from times past. Today they do not confer any rights or privileges, but are honorary titles for persons of distinction who have rendered eminent service.

Their approval by councillors was the final business of the 2015/16 municipal year, the 50th anniversary year since Newham was formed from the amalgamation of East Ham and West Ham county boroughs.

The recipients:

1. Shama Ahmad MBE – Honorary Freedom and Alderwoman
Shama was a councillor from 1990 to 2014 and ceremonial mayor in 1996/97, the first Asian woman in Britain to attain such a position. In 2002 she received an MBE for services to the community.

2. Christine Bowden – Honorary Freedom and Alderwoman
Christine was a councillor from 2002 to 2010 and Deputy Mayor from 2006 to 2010. She had a portfolio that covered human resources and industrial relations. She helped deliver single status for Newham, so that women were paid the same as men.

3. Lew Boyce – Honorary Freedom
Lew served as a councillor from 1982 to 1994. During his time on the council Lew served as Chief Whip and also chaired the committee that introduced the council’s first race relations policy.

4. Paul Chelliah – Honorary Freedom
Paul has served the community for more than 30 years, first as a volunteer at the Trinity Centre in Manor Park, and latterly as Centre Director. He is committed to improving the quality of life for residents.

5. Marie Collier – Honorary Freedom and Alderwoman  
Marie was a councillor from 1998 to 2014. She served as Chair of Council and was Civic Ambassador in 2002/03. She has been a key figure in an ambassadorial role for Newham inside and outside of the borough.

6. Val Fone – Honorary Freedom
Val has worked for disabled people’s rights for almost 40 years as a community worker, a carer and as a councillor for eight years.. She works tirelessly to ensure that disabled people are not discriminated against in any setting.

7. Keith Hasler – Honorary Freedom
Keith, a councillor for 14 years, served on the first Newham Council in 1965. He was instrumental in persuading the Government that Newham should be regarded as inner London for the purposes of teachers’ pay, making a significant difference to Newham’s ability to recruit teachers.

8. Kevin Jenkins OBE – Honorary Freedom and Alderman
Kevin has served local people through 28 years as a councillor and through his work at Canning Town care charity Community Links, which he co-founded. His support of young people is shared as best practice across the country. He received an OBE in 1996.

9. Mark Noble – Honorary Freedom
The Canning Town-born captain of West Ham United has led a side challenging at the top of the Premier League and enjoyed a star-studied testimonial match for 15 years service to the club. He is patron of Richard House Children’s Hospice in Beckton.

10 .Devendra Patel – Honorary Freedom
Devendra came to the United Kingdom in 1961. In 1978 he started a newsagent business in Plaistow. He is respected as a champion for the community and is Immediate Past President of the London district of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents.

11. Newham and Essex Beagles Athletics Club – Honorary Freedom

The Beagles are one of the leading athletics clubs in Great Britain. Based at the Terence McMillan Stadium in Plaistow, 15 Olympians have worn the club’s colours including Daley Thompson, Mo Farah, and Christine Ohurougu.