The Independent London Newspaper

Queen's New Year Honours – MBE salutes ‘inspirational’ creator of vibrant theatre

Theatre director Patricia Cumper, left, and Professor John Marshall

Theatre director Patricia Cumper, left, and Professor John Marshall

Published: 4 January, 2013
by PETER GRUNER

A CAMPAIGNING black theatre director, a leading medical professor who has fought eye disease, an environmental lawyer, a charity worker and officials involved in the London Olympics have all been honoured in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

Patricia Cumper, a former artistic director of Finsbury’s Talawa Theatre, celebrated getting an MBE for services to the arts.

Islington councillor Claudia Webbe described Ms Cumper’s work as “inspirational”, and as good as anything in the West End. “She helped to create a successful and vibrant theatre and very much deserves her award,” Cllr Webbe added.

Over the past 25 years, Talawa has presented more than 40 stage productions, ranging from African classics, Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde to new black British work, as well as nurturing actors, writers, directors and personnel.

At Moorfields Hospital, Professor John Marshall gets his MBE for outstanding work in the speciality of eye disease.

Professor Marshall is described as a “world-renowned” medic who invented lasers for new treatments for retinal disorders and age-related macular degeneration that offer fresh hope for thousands of patients.

Solicitor Andrew Wiseman, from Tufnell Park, receives the OBE for services to law and the environment. “I feel extremely honoured,” said Mr Wiseman, 50, a former chairman of the UK Environmental Law Association. A Lib Dem campaigner, he chaired Islington’s Climate Change Panel. “The environment is always a big issue and we need to look after it,” he added. 

Penny Mansfield, director of  Islington  charity OnePlusOne, is made a CBE for services to children and family.

Ms Mansfield, from Highbury, has been head of the organisation which specialises in keeping families together, since 1996.

She said of her award: “It’s in recognition of the pioneering work of our charity in strengthening relationships. In the last four years our interactive web services – thecoupleconnection.net and theparentconnection.org.uk – have reached over one million men and women directly with relationship knowledge, skills and expert support when it is first needed and most likely to make a difference to the wellbeing of children and their families.”

The work of a key figure behind the success of the London Olympics, Highbury resident Neale Coleman, is recognised with a CBE.

As advisor for Olympic and Paralympic legacy at the Greater London Authority, he was Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s right-hand man.

Also honoured with a CBE is Islington woman Ruth MacKenzie, director of the Cultural Olym­piad.

An MBE goes to Catherine Ugwu, from Holloway, executive producer of the opening and closing ceremonies.

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