Peterborough and Cambridgeshire local heroes recognised in New Year’s Honours List

Bisoye Babalola
Bisoye Babalola

A Peterborough woman who has helped children from deprived areas of the country and a woman who has put years of service into her local church were among the many worthy people named in this year’s New Year’s Honours List.

Bisoye Babalola, who founded Nights Global, a self-funded film festival and platform for independent visual artists has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the creative industries.

Mollie Rollins celebrates 70 years as the organist at Tydd St Giles Methodist Chapel. ANL-140904-152639001

Mollie Rollins celebrates 70 years as the organist at Tydd St Giles Methodist Chapel. ANL-140904-152639001

The 27-year-old said she could not believe it when she found out about the award. She said: “I was extremely shocked - I was not expecting it at all. It is nice someone has decided I deserve recognition, but I couldn’t believe it at first. It wasn’t until the Honours Committee phoned me when I really believed it.”

Nights Global gives new filmmakers the opportunity to screen their films. Since 2015, she has devoted her spare time to ensuring creatives across Britain are meeting their potential. She established a team of six volunteers and has now screened the work of 76 directors over nine seasons. The exposure has seen several projects win places at international film festivals and another become a UK blockbuster, featured on Netflix. She has also broadened this out to include French filmmakers. Since 2017 she has been boosting the skills of young entrepreneurs. She connected with schools in deprived areas of London and convinced personal contacts and Nights Global directors to support an outreach programme. She teaches the children to be self-starters by sharing career journeys and advice, increasing their industry acumen and linking them to work experience through a club called Holiday Club.

Bisoye said: “I think it is important for young people to have more access to conversations about what they want to do when they are older, what services and opportunities are available to them.

“I didn’t know when I left university, and that sort of conversation should take place earlier. One of the aims of Holiday Club is to give youngsters that opportunity.”

Eva Clarke

Eva Clarke

Mollie Rollins has also been given the BEM for her services to the Church and the community in her home town of Tydd St Giles. She has been organist at the church for more than 70 years.

Pinakin Patel, from Wisbech, has been given the MBE for services to Community Cohesion and Preventing Radicalisation.

Mr Patel leads the most established local Prevent programme in the UK and, as Chair of the London Prevent Network, drives standards across the capital. By creating and chairing this forum, he has better enabled fellow practitioners to counter violent extremism and radicalisation. At the forefront of Prevent work, many of his initiatives have been shared nationally as best practice. A trusted ambassador, he has advised other countries as they develop their own counter-radicalisation initiatives. He played a crucial role in the response to terrorist attacks in 2017 by leading London co-ordinators in their response. His team drew together regular updates on community sentiment across London, which were briefed into COBR and helped inform the government’s communications and delivery response, now an established practice in the event of an attack. His role carries personal risk, involving working with communities who challenge, occasionally with campaigns of intimidation, the Prevent duty. He has built up relationships with civil society and faith institutions in West London and established a Prevent Advisory Group (PAG), which provides a constructive forum to brief and consult faith leaders. He has delivered 800 community events with 100 organisations since 2011. He also devised a 13 week parenting programme, adopted as a Prevent project by a number of councils. This project has benefited hundreds of local families with over 500 parents graduating from these classes.

Eva Clarke has also been given a BEM. Eva, from Cambridgeshire, makes regular visists to schools across the county, including in Peterborough, to teach youngsters about the horrors of the Holocaust.

Alison Fendley, the executive director of Forensic Archive Limited from Huntingdon has been given an OBE for services to forensic science.