To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Council, held on 25 November 2020.
The Mayor made the following tribute:
Mr Albert England
Albert England was a friend to many here this evening. I am sure, like me, the news of his passing stopped all who knew him in their tracks. I am sure, like me, your thoughts turned immediately to Mrs Wyn England and their family.
Albert England’s military career was well known. Albert was part of what was known as a combined operation, with the Navy and Army working together. In June 1944, Albert helped pilot a landing craft to the Normandy beaches. As with so many ships, Albert’s boat was bombed, and he was rescued from the sea. In 2015, Albert was appointed to the rank of Chevalier by the French Government in recognition of his service – Councillor Cathy Kent received his insignia on Albert’s behalf and handed it to Albert in this Chamber where he received a standing ovation. Albert was later flown to Burma where he served with honour. Back in Thurrock, both Wyn and Albert were the backbone of Thurrock’s Burma Star Association for many years, ensuring members had someone to turn to and support them. They were the inspiration behind the rose garden installed in Orsett where annual services were still being held. Thurrock Burma Star Association received the Freedom of the Borough in 2008. As well as being remembered as a distinguished veteran, Albert was also a lifelong Thurrock resident. He attended Orsett Primary School as a young boy from 1930 till the age of 11. Albert would often visit school children to share the memory of his experiences in the Second World War. In 2019 Albert and Wyn presented Thurrock Burma Star Association’s Union Jack Standard and Shield to Orsett Primary School for longevity and safekeeping. Albert worked for Shell in Coryton and lived in Corringham. Albert was a much loved member of the local community, the service community and a friend to Thurrock. Rest in peace Albert, you will be missed.
Mr Baldev Singh Gill
Many members would have known Mr Gill as a leading member of the Sikh community in Thurrock. Indeed, Mr Gill was President of the Gurdwara Sikh temple in Grays which had done so much to engage with communities over the years, helping to teach about the Sikh religion and culture. Others would remember Mr Gill as a familiar resident of Grays, often seen around the town, always with a welcoming smile. As well as the important leadership role he played within the Sikh community, Mr Gill sought to build stronger community networks between different faiths, and between different communities, active over the years with many different organisations to consider local issues. I have had many dealings with Baldev over the years, firstly through the Thurrock Faith Matters organisation and later during my time with Thurrock CVS. He would be remembered as a gentle and kind man who always made time for others. Our thoughts are with Mr Gill’s family at this difficult time.
Mr Eddie Coull
Mr Coull was a RAF veteran known widely across Thurrock for his organisation of The Wings Appeal which supported RAF serving members as well as veterans and their families who had sadly passed away on the 23 January. Mr Coull was heavily involved in their fund raising activities and was a member of the Thurrock Branch of RAFA and heavily involved with the ATC Squadrons in Grays and Stanford Le Hope. Whilst I only met Eddie on a couple of occasions, his amazing dedication to fund raising and supporting veterans was outstanding. My condolences go out to his family, he would be sadly missed.
The Mayor announced today people around the world had commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. As with so many events, we had not been able to mark this occasion as we normally would, but many tributes had been made virtually to remember the victims of the Holocaust and further genocides, including the Jewish people and millions of others targeted due to their faith, gender, culture, ability and sexual orientation.
This year, the Holocaust Memorial Day theme was ‘be the light in the dark’. This call to action encouraged us all to reflect on the depths humanity could sink to, but also the ways individuals and communities had resisted darkness to ‘be the light’ before, during and after genocide.
The first fully digital UK Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 ceremony started at 7.00pm today and was now being live streamed. The Mayor informed members the meeting would be paused at 8.00pm which was when the ceremony concluded so they could join the nation, light a candle and put it in their window.
Prayers were led by Reverend Canon Darren Barlow.
This was followed by a minute silence.