Camden mayor elect pledges support for late singer Amy Winehouse’s legacy

Mayor of Camden, Cllr Jonathan Simpson with Mitch Winehouse of the Amy Winehouse Foundation

Mayor of Camden, Cllr Jonathan Simpson with Mitch Winehouse of the Amy Winehouse Foundation - Credit: Archant

Dubbed the “rock and roll mayor” when he first took the chains of office in 2010 because of his love of music, Cllr Jonathan Simpson was last night sworn in for a second term as the borough’s first citizen.

He hopes to raise money for the Amy Winehouse Foundation which was set up after the death of the Camden Town singer in 2011 and runs drug and alcohol awareness programmes in schools.

Money from fundraising during the year will go towards the foundation’s Resilience Programme which educates youngsters about substance abuse.

Cllr Simpson said: “It struck me that when I was at school that I received no education on the impact of drugs or alcohol at all and this hasn’t changed.

“Camden was one of the few local authorities that had any formalised drug education but I hope the work with the foundation will enhance this.

“If we give young people the information they need, then they will be able to make informed decisions on their health.”

The programme explores issues related to drug and alcohol addiction and will be rolled out to three Camden schools, La Sante Union in Dartmouth Park, Acland Burghley in Tufnell Park and Hampstead School in Cricklewood.

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Cllr Simpson was first elected to Camden Council in 2002 and he also served as a special constable in the Met Police from 1998 to 2002 before becoming Camden’s first openly gay mayor.

He is supporting the Amy Winehouse Foundation after meeting the late singer’s father, Mitch, who set-up the charity following his daughter’s death from alcohol poisoning.

Cllr Simpson said: “I didn’t know Amy well, I met her a couple of times and she was a very brilliant, funny young girl who loved Camden and was very proud of the borough.

“I could really relate to her because she fell in love with Camden when she was very young and I did too.

“You see people all the time who fall in love with the borough because of its music heritage.

“I was desperately saddened when Amy died, as many people were, but it’s great that the charity has been set up and they’re doing some fantastic work in the area.

“If the school programme can influence the decision of even one young person in Camden, then it will make a huge impact over the next year.”

As part of the Resilience Programme young people will hear real-life stories and also examine issues of self-esteem and peer pressure.

Cllr Simpson added: “It would have been Amy’s 30th birthday in September and many events have been planned to raise funds for the charity across the borough, so I’m hoping that Ham&High readers will get involved and support this great cause.”

At Camden Council’s annual mayor making ceremony last night, Marcella Puppini, founder member of the internationally acclaimed group the Puppini Sisters, was appointed mayoress, donning a swan fascinator for the occasion.

*Click on our picture gallery on the right to see more photos of last night’s ceremony.