On Thursday 19th March Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham & Rainham held a candle lit vigil at the Dagenham Civic Centre in a bid to protect the building which is in danger of falling victim to the cuts.

Hundreds of local residents gathered on the steps of Dagenham's Civic Centre to make a stand against the proposal to turn the historic 1937 art deco monument into a school.

Flags were flying, banners were waving, and Save Our Civic Centre badges were glimmering in the candlelight – residents young and old, faith groups, trade unions and people from every community background in Dagenham came out, braving the cold to make a stand and protect Dagenham's shared history – residents even brought along their dogs to support the campaign!

Jon Cruddas commented on the vigil and its success:

"It was a fantastic turnout last night which highlighted the fact that the Civic Centre has great meaning for many people across Dagenham. The support has been phenomenal; all of the local trade unions, the many faith groups, and voluntary and community organisations from across Dagenham were represented at the event. This campaign has been a real example of people power and has brought the whole community together for a common cause.

"It was good to see Leslie Underwood at the vigil, who has lived in Dagenham his whole life and was present when the foundation stone of the Civic Centre was laid. He described the building as the pride of Dagenham, and from the vigil to the petition it's clear that thousands of residents feel the same. It was a privilege to stand side by side with the people of Dagenham on the steps of the Civic Centre, but this fight is far from over and in the coming months the campaign and its support will continue to grow. I'd like to end by saying thank you to the many hundreds who came to make a stand on a cold Thursday night."

On Wednesday 25th March the campaign team will be presenting a petition of nearly 4,000 signatures to the council at the Public Accounts and Spending Select Committee as the next step in the fight. Following this the campaign will continue to grow and Jon Cruddas, with the people of Dagenham will continue to keep up the pressure to save our most iconic building.

Article cover photo taken by Matt Saywell others from Barking and Dagenham post can be found here: