Birthday Honours: Cllr Jonathan Simpson 'astonished' to be made MBE
- Credit: PressOffice [PressOffice@camden.gov.uk]
Long-serving Camden Councillor Jonathan Simpson said he was "astonished and delighted" to be made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
Cllr Simpson, 47, recently stepped down as cabinet member at the town hall, but has no intention of stepping back as a councillor, and has promised to continue to be a vocal advocate for the borough's cultural assets.
Cllr Simpson was first elected in 2002 and has served as mayor twice.
The King's Cross councillor also currently chairs the Cultural Camden organisation.
He said he'd initially thought the email revealing his honour was a scam.
"I have to say thought it was an HMRC hoax initially," he said.
"But after I called and confirmed it with the cabinet office, I was astonished and delighted."
Cllr Simpson said he wanted to highlight how difficult the past year has been for Camden's cultural institutions.
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He added: "When I think of the things I've achieved, it is things like bringing the cultural community together in Camden.
"But the reality and the really important thing is that Covid has brought such a huge challenge for our cultural sector. And as we recover my hope is to use this opportunity say to everyone in Camden: 'Go out there and support your local arts and cultural venues.'"
Among Cllr Simpson's other achievements over the years in public service are also a series of campaigns which raised awareness of domestic violence - especially in marginalised groups like the over-50s and the LGTBQ+ community.
Cllr Simpson was Camden's cabinet representative for community safety before taking up the culture brief, and spent six years at the town hall's top table.
He is also a trustee of the Amy Winehouse Foundation and Camden Arts Centre.
He said those he had been able to tell about the honour had been "absolutely delighted for me" and said he was looking forward to celebrating over the weekend.
Referencing another local who's name appears in the year's Birthday Honours, he added: "I'll be picking out a suit and maybe I'll get to go the palace with Arlene Phillips!"