New Year Honours: Awards for Primrose Hill youth worker and the Whittington's chief nurse
- Credit: Jason Allen
A popular Primrose Hill youth worker and the chair of a commission designed to bring justice to those who lost property during the Second World War are among the north London faces celebrating after being named on this year's New Year Honours list.
Jason Allen, 34, who has been a key presence at the St Mary's Centre at St Mary's Church in Elsworthy Road receives the BEM medal, while expert accountant Arthur Harverd, 87, from Fortis Green becomes an MBE.
The Whittington Hospital's chief nurse, Michelle Johnson, has been made an MBE for services to nursing, especially during the pandemic.
Muswell HIll has a new dame, with engineer Jo Da Silva honoured for her sustainable development work at the firm Arup, while Hampstead Garden Suburb-born Professor Simon Baron Cohen becomes a knight for his work to help people with autism.
Others with north London connections include Anthony Spiro, a trustee of the Freud Museum in Belsize Park, who has been made an OBE for his services to Holocaust remembrance, and PC Ceyhun Uzun of St John's Wood's neighbourhood policing team.
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PC Uzun received the BEM medal for his services to policing and charity.
Nationally, big names to receive gongs include motor racing driver Lewis Hamilton, who is now a knight, and actress Sheila Hancock, who becomes a dame. Members of the England 1966 football World Cup-winning squad Jimmy Greaves and Ron Flowers have both been made MBEs, while London actress Lesley Manville is now a CBE.
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Jason Allen, who has worked with vulnerable young people in Camden for 15 years, told this newspaper what an honour it had been to find out about his award.
He said: "I didn't expect it at all. I was shocked to see the email, thought it was a mistake.
"When you're working with young people you don't expect to get accolades, you just do it. And because I have been doing this so long, you just don't expect to be recognised."
Jason and the team at St Mary's work to mediate between different groups of young people when disagreements arise, and to offer mentoring to teenagers and children who might need it. The idea is that the church and the youth centre is a "neutral zone" in Camden and young people are encouraged to mix with others from across the borough.
He said youth violence remains an scary issue for many, and spoke about his work this year.
"You need to learn to work in a dynamic way when you're working with young people who are at risk," Jason said. "I think a lot of people have now been through the sense of fear that a lot of our young people are getting when they walk out of the door. Young people have been really impacted this year. A particular cohort of young people fall through gaps and don't get the support they need. It's not in place for the most vulnerable. They can struggle with behaviour, with mental health issues, and the next thing you know messages get misconstrued and we're needing to mediate to prevent violence."
Arthur Harverd, a chartered accountant and arbitrator, explained how his career had involved both professional football and victims of the Nazis.
He said: "In effect as an arbitrator you're a private judge, and determine disputes which are better dealt with privately."
He has done the job for 37 years, and overseen around 750 cases.
Arthur, who is married to Rica and has three adult children, said: "I also deal with the regulatory aspects of sports issues — a material example would be the new financial fair play rules in soccer. The other thing is I chair a government panel dealing with claims where Great Britain accepts a responsibility to victims of Nazi persecution or their descendants in issues of property lost during the war."
Arthur, born in Tottenham, has been involved with helping the Met Police's Serious Fraud Squad as an expert witness in the field of accountancy.