New Year Honours: MBE for lawyer supporting East End traders in Covid crisis
- Credit: Catherine Tuitt
A lawyer who has championed the “shop local” drive to get the East End’s economy through the pandemic has been recognised in the New Years’ Honours after 20 years working for the community.
Former Tower Hamlets deputy mayor Catherine Tuitt, who last served on the council 20 years ago, was made an MBE “for services to the community”.
She set up the London Community Credit Union in 2000 to end hardships and has also worked for the NHS delivering medication to the vulnerable, while studying to qualify as a solicitor. Today she is senior director of Tower Hamlets Law Centre in Limehouse. But it doesn’t stop there, she also volunteers for food bank delivery to those shielding during lockdown.
Catherine also champions East End businesses during the crisis, supporting the East London Advertiser’s Shop Local campaign when she joined Cllr Rabina Khan’s call in November for help to save Shadwell’s Watney Market.
“I get most of my shopping from the market stalls since Covid to support local businesses,” Catherine said at the time. “I don’t even go to Westfield in Stratford because it’s the East End that needs its economy boosted. We’re one of the boroughs struggling with high levels of Covid, so it’s absolutely important to support these businesses because it helps us generate wealth in the East End.”
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She fundraises for charity, from soup kitchens to sleep outs, when she’s not running the law centre where she was appointed director in 2015.
“I am over the moon,” she told the Advertiser about being honoured by Buckingham Palace.
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Catherine represented Bethnal Green’s Weaver’s ward, where she lives, in the years she served as a councillor, giving voice to children’s rights running the Centre of Hope charity and highlighting the plight of the disabled. She took part in a BBC London documentary in 2004 about Blue Badge holders and the plight of the disabled having their parking exemption discs stolen when the system was introduced.
But Catherine really made her mark as the East End’s first black woman deputy mayor, setting a template for the next two decades.