MARGARET Rodell manages the Lady McAdden Breast Screening Unit charity shop, in Montreal Road, Tilbury. She moved to the borough in 1982, having previously been a military wife.

Her two children took up an Army career and also live in the borough. The shop has been operating for 18 years and has three paid staff and 13 volunteers.

Q) What do you love about Thurrock and what is it that’s kept you here?

A) It’s the people, especially Tilbury people. Tilbury Riverside Project and the history of Thurrock, as told by the local people, has been especially interesting.

Q) How do you see the future panning out for the borough?

A) Improvements are welcome, bringing employment opportunities. The Royal Opera House, Purfleet, has been a success story and turned a neglected area into a welcome place of cultural interest.

Q) How do you think other parts of Essex see Thurrock?

A) They see us as a multi-cultural, heavily-congested, sometimes deprived area, but a place where most of us can enjoy the free parking at Lakeside The schools offer better facilities and higher standards now. Thurrock may not be picturesque or quaint, but it is a starting point for many new families from different backgrounds to find employment and a new life.

Q) If you could change one thing about the borough, what would it be?

A) Blackshots leisure centre swimming pool. It has hardly changed in 30 years. There is no outdoor pool, no separate diving area, and it lacks an allround appearance to attract the younger generation to use it.

Q) What’s the best bit about working in the borough?

A) Definitely the people. Meeting new people from different backgrounds and cultures is always a challenge, but most of them want similar things from a charity shop – a quality item for a bargain price, or somewhere to offload their unwanted goods when moving house.

Q) What role do you think the Gazette plays in the community?

A) It plays a vital role, promoting local businesses and events. The Gazette is the link everyone knows they can rely on. Through the Gazette, our shop has thanked the people of Thurrock many times for their continued support.

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