PUBLISHED: 00:01 31 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:55 05 October 2010

BEEFEATER Roderick Truelove has been awarded the Royal Victoria Medal for his dedication as senior Yeoman at the Tower of London. He is one of 14 men and women in East London included in today’s New Year Honours List, four receiving the OBE, nine getting the MBE

BEEFEATER Roderick Truelove has been awarded the Royal Victoria Medal for his dedication as senior Yeoman at the Tower of London.

He is one of 14 men and women in East London included in today’s New Year Honours List, four receiving the OBE, nine getting the MBE.

Father-of-two Roderick, 60, the Yeoman Clerk at The Tower, has been looking after things at the historic palace for 20 years, where his responsibilities now take in administration and the archives.

He also hands out the tickets for applications from visitors to attend after hours’ ceremonies such as the nightly Ceremony of the Keys, which date back 700 years, and reckons he issues up to 30,000 a year.

“It’s a great job and the best thing is talking to the public and telling them the history of The Tower,” he told the East London Advertiser last night (Tuesday).

“We always remember that we’ve heard questions about the history 100 times, but it’s the first time our visitors have heard the answer.”

He is celebrating with his wife and two sons.


Four OBEs awarded in the Honours List to people living or working in East London include the former director of the Spitalfields Festival, Judith Serota, who has been with the organisation 19 years, having launched the award-winning Festival Education & Community programme and the annual Spitalfields Winter Festival.

Judith has spent more than 30 years in the classical music industry as a promoter, manager, educator and musician.

“I’m absolutely trilled,” she told the Advertiser. “It was a complete surprised when I received the letter.”

Judith retired last year, but still has links with the East End as a governor of Whitechapel’s Mulberry Secondary school. Her brother, Sir Nicolas Serota, was director of the Whitechapel Gallery before becoming director of the Tate.

Three other MBEs have been awarded to Prof Graham Rees, professor of English and Drama at Queen Mary London University college Mile End campus, “for service to scholarship,” Alan Deighton from Wapping, former Safety Advice manager at the Department for Transport in Whitehall, and Gideon Amos from Hackney Wick, the Town & Country Planning Association’s chief executive, “for services to sustainable development.”


East End legend Tony Burns got an MBE “for voluntary service to Amateur boxing.” The boxing coach has helped send fighters to 10 world Olympics.

Tony, now 68, started featherweight boxing at Bethnal Green’s world-famous Repton club in his youth in the 1950s.

He began coaching at the club in 1968 and has since helped train 250 national champs, including Audley Harrison who got Olympic and Commonwealth Gold medals and won two Amateur Boxing Association championships.

“I don’t think that record can ever be broken,” he said proudly.

The deprived East End is an easy neighbourhood to find and nurture boxing talent, he revealed.

“There ain’t too many golf clubs or riding clubs round here,” he points out.

“There are kids who are never going to be boxers—but they want to belong to something.”

Tony grew up in Bethnal Green and now runs a removals business which he took over from his dad.

But he has still found the time to train and send boxers to 10 Olympics. He attended seven Olympics himself and is confident he’ll be sending more to the 2012 Games.


Another MBE winner is Jennifer Sealey, artistic director of Hackney’s Graeae Theatre Company, “for services to disability arts.”

Jennifer is a leading force in East London who is deaf, but speaks for disability arts both as an artist and as their director.

She started her career as an actress making her professional debut with the Graeae Theatre company, a troupe of performers with physical and sensory disabilities which provides community and educational projects and training in theatre skills.

Her reputation for devising sign-language plays for deaf audiences and creating multi-sensory theatre led to her appointment as Graeae’s artistic director in 1997.

Off-duty police officer Elizabeth Kenworthy, who was on the Circle Line train destroyed by a terrorist suicide bomb at Aldgate Underground station in July, 2005, gets an MBE. She rushed through the carriages towards the blast as her train crashed to a halt in the tunnel between Liverpool Street and Aldgate, giving first aid to badly injured passengers.

Mamun Chowdhury from East Ham gets the MBE “for voluntary service to Asian community football in East London.”

At 31, the father-of-two still manages the Beaumont Athletics team he set up when he was a pupil at Stepney Green Secondary school in 1993. The team notched up successes in the Tower Hamlets seven-a-side tournament and the Asian National six-a-side league, then went on to win the 2006 Canary Wharf Summer Cup and was voted Senior Team of the Year.

Five more MBEs were given to East Londoners: Olympic Gold medalist Christine Ohuruogu from Stratford “for services to sport,” Sarah Castro from Poplar Housing & Regeneration Community Association “for tackling anti-social behaviour” in London’s East End, Patricia Wallson, formerly Headteacher at Bethnal Green’s Columbia Market nursery school and vice-Chair of Little Oaks children’s centre, “for services to Early Years education,” Jennifer Bell, former Governor at Clapton’s Harrington Hill Primary school, “for voluntary service to education,” and Israel Massey from Forest Gate, co-founder of Newham Race Equality, “for services to minority ethnic communities.”


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