Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle MBE

Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle MBE was Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone. She is the eldest of three children and Southwark resident since the age of three. She has had a varied career which has included being a lecturer in colleges, managing the constituency office of Harriet Harman MP in Westminster and small roles in soaps including Casualty and Eastenders.

Dora has been a Labour Councillor for Camberwell Green in the London Borough of Southwark since 1998 and also served as Mayor. Before this she held senior cabinet portfolios such as Children & Education, Adult Social Care, and latterly Arts and Culture.

Dora received her MBE from the Queen in 2011 for services to local government and she is also a Freeman of the City of London.

What was your first job?

My very, very, very, first job? I used to do a newspaper round. Honest! Waking up early and delivering newspapers through letterboxes. I was about 12 or 13 years old, I think. Looking back, it gave me a great grounding in politics because by the time I finished my round I would have read every newspaper – for free! And then because I was reliable, I began working in the shop that sold the newspapers so I began doing what I do best – talking – and I’m still doing it now. Talking to anyone and everyone about everything under the sun!  But seriously it also trained me in noticing what goes on in the community. You’d notice who didn’t come in for their papers. So, the owner of the shop would pop out to see if that person was okay. If someone  came in and wasn’t well, you’d soon know about it, with all the coughing & sneezing & spluttering, and of course people tell you their life stories, their moans & groans, it could go on forever! But what wonderful training to be a politician!

How did you transition to what you are doing now?

I’ve spent over 25 years in politics, and in public life as a magistrate, and on boards & committees supporting people whose voices are rarely heard but when they are enabled, they roar!  I’m writing a book about it. Watch this space.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

My greatest influence has been my late Mum. She was a great and proud African woman. Full of common-sense and great one-liners! If you were having a bad day, she’d soon cheer you up or give you a bowl of her hot pepper soup! That always did the trick!

What’s your proudest achievement?

Receiving my MBE personally from the Queen.

What projects are you currently working on?

Many projects. One is a project that encourages people to show respect to each other. It’s a project that says it’s not just about taking.  It’s not about using people. If we carry on that way as people, as citizens we will never ever move on.  It’s a shame some of us still have to be taught that lesson. But that’s one of the projects I’m working on.


What advice would you give women interested in pursuing careers in politics?

You need to be resilient. You need to be credible. Don’t let people have a reason to whisper behind your back ‘she’s only there ‘cos she got lucky’ or worse.  Don’t be a pawn and get used by others.  If you’re a woman you have a glass ceiling to break through. If you’re a woman of colour you have a concrete ceiling.

What’s next for you?

Who knows?  I know where I’m from. I know what I’ve achieved. I know who I am. I leave the future in the hands of someone all-seeing and more powerful.

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