New Year's Honours for local people

Published: Thursday, December 31, 2020

The executive headteacher of Chesterton School in Battersea and a local volunteer have both been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

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Mark Siswick has received the honour for services to education. He is also a co-founder of the Wandle Learning Trust which, through the Wandle Teaching School Alliance, works to provide training and support and share best practice for teachers and schools across London. During the pandemic he helped to create a national home learning programme.

The Alliance has praised Mr Siswick for “dedicating his career to getting the best outcomes for all children no matter their background - a well-deserved award.”

Wandsworth Council’s cabinet member for education and children’s services Cllr Will Sweet said: “Mark thoroughly deserves this recognition. His vision and leadership has inspired teachers and made a real difference to the lives of children at Chesterton and across London.”

Battersea resident and local volunteer Syeda Islam has received an MBE for services to the community in Battersea, particularly during the Covid-19 response.

Mrs Islam has volunteered for the local community for the past 15 years, and during the lockdown cooked and delivered up to 200 hot meals at a time to vulnerable people living in five local sheltered housing schemes.

She ran ‘Syeda’s Kitchen’ for 24 weeks, mainly on her own, or with the help of her husband and son. She initially funded ingredients and PPE herself, and then successfully fundraised, including a donation from the Rotary Club of Battersea Park, where she is a past president.

She said: “I am surprised and overwhelmed by being honoured by Her Majesty. I only did what so many others would have done when those less fortunate sometimes get forgotten because of the sheer scale of a hardship that hits the community.”

Council leader Cllr Ravi Govindia said: “It is community heroes like Syeda that have helped us through the storm of this ongoing pandemic. The whole borough owes her and others like her their gratitude and I am delighted that her efforts have been recognised in this way.”