A former Highgate primary school caretaker says he's "pleased and proud" to be recognised in the King's New Year Honours.

In January 2022 Troyton Bunbury retired as site manager at St Michael's CoE Primary School, in North Road, after serving the community for 21 years.

A year on, the 61-year-old has been given a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to education. 


He said: "It's wonderful, I'm so delighted with it and this is for all the people of my station who have worked very hard, contribute and have a history of service.

"As a member of the Windrush generation I'm also pleased. My great uncle came over in the 50s, my father and mother came over in the 60s, and they worked very hard."

Troy came to the UK from Guyana in 1973 aged 11, and prior to getting a job as a caretaker at St Mark's in Islington, he worked for British Telecom.

"I was the youngest person on the team and we were fitting payphones in Buckingham Palace," he said.

"You get picked to go with a team to a special place then years on with a different job you get an award.

"I'm elated. This isn't just for me. It's for my family and my friends, especially people from the BAME community."

Ham & High: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer with Alison Rose, chief exec of the NatWest Group, who has been made a Dame in the New Years Honours 2023Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer with Alison Rose, chief exec of the NatWest Group, who has been made a Dame in the New Years Honours 2023 (Image: PA)

Meanwhile Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest Group, was made a Dame for services to financial services.

The mum-of-two, who lives with her family in Highgate, was the first woman in the UK to lead a major bank lender.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, director at the Institute of Health Equality at University College London, was appointed Companion of Honour for services to public health.

The Order of the Companions of Honour was founded on June 4 1917 by George V and is limited to 65 members at any one time.

Appointments go to those who have made a long-standing contribution to arts, science, medicine or government.


Film stars

Former Camden School for Girls pupil Cleo Sylvestre, also known as Cleopatra Palmer, 77, has been made an MBE for services to drama and to charity.

The 77-year-old has been a feature of film, stage, television and music since the 60s.

Her film roles have included the 2014 film Paddington and 1993’s The Punk, and her TV appearances range from Doctor Who to Coronation Street and Channel 5’s revamp of All Creatures Great And Small.

She also sang as Cleo, with the Rolling Stones backing her on a cover of To Know Him Is To Love Him in 1964, and now performs with blues band Honey B Mama And Friends.

Ham & High: David Harewood has been made an OBEDavid Harewood has been made an OBE (Image: PA)

Actor and broadcaster David Harewood has been made an OBE after becoming a prominent voice for better mental health support.

The 57-year-old, who found widespread fame playing CIA director David Estes in the US drama series Homeland, has been honoured for his services to drama and charity.

In 2019, David created a one-off BBC documentary titled Psychosis And Me, which saw him retrace his steps and delve into his breakdown after being sectioned aged 23 at the Whittington Hospital, in Magdala Avenue, Archway.

He told presenter Lauren Laverne on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in May this year: “I started to sort of have these moments of blackouts and suddenly wake up at three o’clock in the morning and I’d be outside Euston station in the middle of the night.

“I’d go, ‘what on Earth am I doing here? I better go home’, and I’d start walking home and then black out, and I’d wake up in Camden at four o’clock in the afternoon.

“I was just in and out of reality. It was bizarre and scary and ethereal.”


The arts 


Ham & High: Grayson Perry has been knighted in the New Years Honours 2023Grayson Perry has been knighted in the New Years Honours 2023 (Image: PA)

Grayson Perry has been knighted as part of the New Year Honours list.

The 62-year-old artist, writer and broadcaster, who is known for his tapestries, ceramic works and cross-dressing, has been made a Knight Bachelor for services to the arts.

Essex-born Sir Grayson, who calls himself a “tranny potter” and has links to Islington, often explores fashion, conformity and prejudice in his work and appears in public as his female alter-ego, Claire.

He spends hours meticulously making vases, which at a distance look like ornaments, and are covered in words and sometimes graphic images depicting his own past or railing against society.

Ham & High: Best selling children's author Francesca Simon has been made an MBEBest selling children's author Francesca Simon has been made an MBE (Image: PA)

Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon, who lives in Tufnell Park, was made an MBE for services to literature.


Jewish community leaders


Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has been knighted for services to the Jewish community, to interfaith relations and to education.

In 2015 he was given the Freedom of the Borough of Barnet.

He is among a handful of Jewish community leaders to be recognised, also including the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, who lives in Kentish Town, and several Holocaust survivors.

Ham & High: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvish Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvish (Image: PA)

Sir Ephraim said he is “enormously honoured and deeply humbled”, adding: “It will be particularly moving for me to receive this award from His Majesty the King, in his first year as our monarch.”


First female referee


Jawahir Roble, referee and volunteer at Football Beyond Borders, was made MBE for services to association football.

The UK's first female referee, JJ as she likes to be called, arrived in Brent aged 10 from Somalia and smashed multiple barriers to become a full time coach and referee.

Brent Council's former deputy leader Margaret McLennan was made an MBE for services to digital inclusion and to the community in Brent.

Others also recognised in the honours list include Hackney's Inderpaul Johar, co-founder of Dark Matters Laboratories, who was made an MBE for services to architecture.

Sylvia Pierc, founder and chair of Governors at Mossbourne Community Academy, in Hackney, was also made an MBE for services to education.

Ham & High: DJ Spoony during the after party during the 2019 PFA Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel, has been given a British Empire MedalDJ Spoony during the after party during the 2019 PFA Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel, has been given a British Empire Medal (Image: PA)

Johnathan Joseph, from Hackney, also known as DJ Spoony, was given a British Empire Medal for services to charities through music during Covid-19.

The 52-year-old hosts a regular show on BBC Radio 2 and is a presenter for the Premier League, but first made a name for himself while DJing on pirate radio stations in the 1990s.

He dedicated his BEM to his community and late mother, who taught him to express himself and “gave me rhythm”.

He said: “When I found out, it was an emotional moment because my mum is no longer here.

“And I know how delighted she would be, and I wasn’t able to call her and tell her. The sacrifices my mum made, the support, the belief.

“Even though, like I said, personally I’m a bit conflicted with the honours and the use of the word Empire in the honours – and I most probably would feel a lot more comfortable if that wasn’t in there – what I also accept is the journey that my people, especially my mum, went on, and sacrifices that my mum made so that I can be in this position.”

He added: “I learned to dance standing on her feet and she gave me rhythm.

“And maybe even more importantly, her allowing me to just go and express myself when I wanted to, you know, practising and playing music in the house.

“She just supported me every step of the way, so when I’ve looked for any kind of validation it’s only ever been from my mum.

“So that’s why, when I speak about it, I do get emotional, because she should be here to share that with me.”

Do you live or work in north London and been holding on to the secret that you've been recognised in the New Years Honours?

Let us know.

Email nathalie.raffray@newsquest.co.uk, joseph.reaidi@newsquest.co.uk and alex.marsh@newsquest.co.uk