Head teacher is made a Dame
Published: January 5, 2006 | 3191st good news item since 2003
A HEAD teacher at a Hackney primary school was made a Dame in the Queen’s New Year honours.
Anna Hassan, from Millfields school in Hilsea Street, Lower Clapton, is one of five Hackney heroes celebrating after being awarded gongs.
The 59-year-old was made a DBE for services to education in the borough spanning 27 years.
“I’m very excited and extremely honoured, but I find it hard to believe and I can’t help but think they’ve got the wrong person, especially because I’m just doing my job, which is something I love doing,” she said.
“I’m very proud for the children and it’s on behalf of them, the school, the community and the staff that I have accepted this because a head is only as good as the team behind her.
“We’ve had a lot of support from the Learning Trust and Hackney Council, as well as parents, teachers and governors.”
Mrs Hassan has spent most of her teaching career in Hackney, including seven years at Baden-Powell school in Ferron Road, Lower Clapton, and seven more as deputy head and head at Grasmere primary in Albion Road, Stoke Newington, before moving to Millfields 12 years ago.
Mrs Hassan’s husband, Nevzat, used to work as caretaker alongside her at Millfields. They have a son and a grand-daughter.
Staff and children will not be addressing her by her official title, but it will appear on the school’s sign.
Mrs Hassan was said to have “developed a highly successful inclusive community school, which is a national leader”.
The school runs an “extended day” scheme, opening to children from 6.30am to 8.30pm every weekday and catering for adult learning at nights and Saturdays.
A man who settled in Hackney more than 25 years ago after risking his life with thousands of others to flee the Communist regime in Vietnam was made an MBE.
Vu Khanh Thanh arrived in Britain in 1978 and was not reunited with his wife and family until five years later.
The 61-year-old, who lives in Woodberry Grove, is the founder and director of the An Viet Foundation in Englefield Road, De Beauvoir, which provides services for Hackney’s Vietnamese community.
He is also a Hackney councillor representing Dalston ward – the first Vietnamese elected councillor in the UK and Europe.
“It is a great honour,” he said. “My award has even been featured on the news in Vietnam as I am the first Vietnamese to have received such an honour,” he said.
Margaret Busby is not normally a fan of hats, but will be splashing out for her meeting with the Queen.
“I think I’ll have to buy one,” she told the Gazette as she celebrated her OBE for services to literature and publishing.
Ms Busby, who lives in Stoke Newington and was born in Ghana, became the UK’s first black woman book publisher when she co-founded Allison & Busby.
She was editorial director for 20 years and now occupies her time by writing, broadcasting and judging competitions, including the Orange Prize for Fiction.
“It’s a great honour,” she added. “It’s nice to be recognised.”
A man who joined a small Hackney charity as an unemployed volunteer in 1989 and rose to become its chief executive was awarded an OBE.
Dai Powell, 50, of Winston Road, Stoke Newington, heads Mare Street-based Hackney Community Transport and was rewarded for his efforts in improving access to public transport for disabled people.
The not-for-profit organisation runs three London bus routes, has establish ed door-to-door transport services for the disabled and a free service linking residential areas and doctors’ surgeries and created a management committee made up of service users.
“I am speechless, which is unusual for me!,” said Mr Powell. “It is humbling to realise that the work we do has gained such nationwide recognition.”
Dr Bobbie Jacobson thought she was being asked for tax when she opened up her awards letter.
The director of the London Health Observatory mistook the letter informing her she had been awarded an OBE for services to public health for a tax demand.
Dr Jacobson, a mum-of-two, who has worked as public health director for both the City and Hackney Health Authority and East London and the City Health Authority, was “delighted” when the news sunk in.