Very rock’n’royal! Former mayor picks up his MBE at castle

Councillor on the record for not supporting use of the word 'empire' in title of gongs

Friday, 8th April

Jonathan Simpson

Councillor Jonathan Simpson

A LONG-SERVING councillor was suited and booted on Wednesday as he headed to Windsor Castle to pick up his MBE.

Jonathan Simpson was awarded his gong back in June 2021 for his work championing Camden’s live music venues and cultural organisations.

He was nicknamed the “rock’n’roll mayor” during his time as the first citizen, as he brought the borough’s famous musical heritage – and the need to protect it – into sharp focus.

Jonathan Simpson at Windsor Castle

In a second stint, he raised money for the Amy Winehouse Foundation which helps young people avoid addiction. He remains a trustee of the charity set up in the Camden Town singer’s name.

By chance, he was at the castle on the same day as his friend Alison Moyet – her mother was once a pupil at Parliament Hill School – with the singer also collecting an MBE.

Cllr Simpson has spoken about how he has issues with the word “empire” being in the title of the awards and it has been suggested this could be changed to “excellence”.

“I did question whether to take the honour and believe the system should be reformed to reflect good work rather than the empire,” he said.

“Princess Anne gave me the award and we chatted about local government, culture and the night-time economy in Camden – and Amy Winehouse and her legacy through the work of the foundation.”

Cllr Simpson added: “She spoke about the work of the Roundhouse Trust in supporting young people.”

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