Peterborough worker who risked her safety during 2011 riots named in Queen’s Birthday Honours list

Regina Allanah
Regina Allanah
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A Peterborough community worker who risked her safety during the 2011 riots will receive a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Regina Allanah (28) from the Ortons, will receive the BEM for ‘voluntary service to the community in the London Borough of Haringey.’

Also honoured is Jill Coddington (47) from Fellowes Garden, Fletton, who will receive an MBE for ‘services to social housing residents and the community in Peterborough.

Regina, who has been volunteering with Victim Support Haringey since 2009, volunteered in the outreach centre in Tottenham Leisure Centre during the riots and travelled to and from the outreach centre to ensure emotional and practical support to victims was available as soon as possible.

Regina said: “My first instinct was even more that they need my help.

“At that moment of time I was in shock, but so many people needed my help.

“I helped to give out clothes, and provided emotional support and advice and assistance with re-housing.”

The BEM was reintroduced in 2012 and rewards a sustained, local contribution or innovative, high-impact work of a relatively short duration.

Regina, who studied her A-Levels at what was then Orton Longueville School, and is now Nene Park Academy, is a non-practicing barrister who previously worked for the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) Bureau within the National Crime Agency.

On receiving the letter to tell her she had won her award, Regina said: “I was ecstatic and really surprised. It was surreal. Having the honour is beyond amazing.”

Regina, who has had to keep her award a secret for the past two weeks, said: “I will inform all my friends on social media. The positive thing is to encourage people to volunteer.

“This shows it’s really important to give back to the community.”

Jill, who has been a legal assistant at Hegarty Solicitors in Peterborough for the past nine years, helped form housing association Cross Keys Homes and has been heavily involved ever since.

She said: “I’m honoured, humbled, shocked and surprised. I had to read that letter a couple of times. I could not believe it.

“It’s the sort of thing other pepole get.”

Jill is unsure who nominated her for the MBE, but she said: “I would like to thank the person or persons who put my name forward.”

The letter telling Jill she was to receive her MBE came during the recent election campaign, so she did not expect much when she opened it up.

And even when she did, she still could not quite believe what she was reading.

“I just opened it and read it and thought that’s a joke. Then I read it again,” said Jill, who has had to keep her award a secret for six weeks.

Jill’s medal is a reward for her work with Cross Keys which includes helping the young working poor and helping to reduce anti-social behaviour after earning Sport England funding for a children’s play area in Peterborough.

Jill, who used to be Cross Keys board member, said: “I’ve worked really hard and been involved in loads of projects.

“I was involved in setting the company up and making sure tenants are well informed.”

Jill does not know when she will receive her MBE or where, but she added: “I will enjoy the day even if I’m nervous.”

An MBE is also to be awarded to Paul Arnill (46) of March for ‘services to Cambridgeshire Search and Rescue and to the community in Tilney, Norfolk’.

Paul’s arrival into Cambridgeshire in 2005 led to the formation of a new countywide Lowland Search and Rescue Team in which he played a diligent role through coordinating with police constabularies.

In addition, the Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Archibald Hugh Duberly, is to receive a Royal Victorian Order.