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Local heroes receive New Year Honours

PUBLISHED: 09:42 31 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:40 07 September 2010

THE unsung heroes of north London dominate the New Year Honours list with the Queen deciding to side-step the world of celebrity. Star recipients like Jenson Button, Ross Brawn and Patrick Stewart had little company from their celebrity peers as those wor

THE unsung heroes of north London dominate the New Year Honours list with the Queen deciding to side-step the world of celebrity.

Star recipients like Jenson Button, Ross Brawn and Patrick Stewart had little company from their celebrity peers as those working for charity, drama and science took the main accolades.

Hampstead, Camden Town, Primrose Hill, Highgate and Haringey were not without their own winners this year.

National Theatre director and Primrose Hill resident Nicholas Hytner was knighted.

"I am delighted and flattered," said Mr Hytner, who has held the post since 2003.

He was behind its hugely popular productions of Michael Morpurgo's War Horse, Alan Bennett's The History Boys and Michael Frayn's Democracy.

He is joined by fellow thespian and Hampstead resident Braham Murray.

The artistic director of Manchester's Royal Exchange theatre was awarded an OBE also for services to drama.

Channel 4's controller of film and drama and the woman behind the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, Tessa Ross, was awarded a CBE.

The Camden Town resident said: "I am absolutely over the moon with the award and quite overwhelmed really."

She is famed for bringing together all the ingredients for the Film4 production which scooped eight Oscars. Director Danny Boyle himself said: "It's all to do with Tessa Ross."

Erich Reich, chairman of the Kindertransport Group of the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), was knighted for services to charity.

The shocked 74-year-old Highgate resident vowed not to make anyone refer to him as Sir Erich.

He said: "I was full of humility. Never in my wildest dreams did I even think about something like this. When the letter came my wife cried and I just thought, 'Do I really deserve this?' But everyone has told me it is not up to me."

Mr Reich has spent the last 18 years organising trips around the globe through his company Classic Tours. These trips have helped raise in excess of £60million for numerous charities.

He was one of thousands of children evacuated to Britain from Germany in the run-up to the Second World War.

Mr Reich, of Hornsey Lane, said: "My instinct was to give something back to the people who allowed me to live."

The founder and director of the Kentish Town-based Anne Frank Trust was thrilled to be recognised with an MBE.

Gillian Walnes has dedicated her life to perpetuating the messages of Anne Frank's diary through the charity which educates young people about the dangers of racism and discrimination.

The 58-year-old said: "I will be accepting this huge honour on behalf of the talented and dedicated team of people who make up the Anne Frank Trust, as well as all those around the UK who have organised and supported Anne Frank exhibitions and projects.

"They are the embodiment of Otto Frank's wish that his daughter's inspirational writing be a general force for good.

"This gives a great fillip to our work in educating young people to reject prejudice and discrimination - a mission which in these uncertain times is even more needed."

She added that the honour would also be dedicated to her late husband Tony Bogush, who died three years ago.

He was hugely important in the charity's growth as they lived for many years "in and above the shop" when the charity was run from their home before getting its permanent offices.

NW6 resident Margaret Baxter was awarded an OBE and Highgate painter Rosa Branson was given an MBE for charity work.

NW5 resident Catherine Graham-Harrison received an OBE for her services to heritage.

Muswell Hill resident Marion Juliette Janner was given an OBE for services to mental healthcare.

She set up the Star Wards project which works to improve the experiences of mental health patients.

Camden Town resident Dr Ralph Kohn, 82, was knighted for services to science, music and charity.

Besides running a pharmaceutical empire, he is also a semi-professional singer with an overarching passion for Bach.

He has dedicated his life to the investigation of new drugs and, in 1970, he set up the first independent medical research and development company in Britain.

He said: "I think it's a great honour. I'm delighted with it.

"It's a wonderful recognition and I feel particularly happy to think that I've spent life doing all the things I wanted to do and enjoyed doing.

"It's very unusual indeed to be knighted for three separate areas - but I think that reflects my life, really."

Another science winner was Professor Adrian Newland, from NW1, director of the Pathology Clinical Academic Unit at Barts and the London NHS Trust, who was awarded a CBE.

Professor Salvador Moncada, from NW1, was knighted for his work as director of the Wolfson Institute of Biomedical Research at University College London.

In Haringey, Gerry Willmott, 55, was awarded an MBE for services to the police and to boxing.

Mr Willmott, a constable with the local police, set up a boxing club for young people at Tottenham Community Sports Centre in 1999.

Fellow constable Kenneth Marsh was also awarded a MBE for work with the police and at the centre.

PC Willmott, of North Weald, Essex, said: "I set up the club 10 years ago because I care about young people and I love boxing.

"I never dreamed in a million years that I would be included in the New Year Honours. To get an MBE is a great honour. It's fantastic."

PC Marsh, 43, said: "I was very surprised - I couldn't believe that people would recognise me in that way for the things I have done."

Those honoured are nominated by someone or an organisation familiar with what they have done or the government department for which they work.

Each nomination is then discussed by an honours sub-committee and informally approved by the Queen. If the nominee accepts the accolade, the honour is made official.

Two local civil servants picked up accolades.

Natalie Ceeney, chief executive of the National Archives at the Ministry of Justice and an NW5 resident, received a CBE.

NW1 resident Hillary Bauer, head of the international and cultural property unit at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, was given an OBE.


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