Former leader of Hounslow Council awarded MBE in New Year’s Honours

Image above: Former Leader of Hounslow Council Steve Curran

Under his leadership Hounslow was named ‘Council of the Year’

The former Leader of Hounslow Council Steve Curran has been awarded an MBE in the King’s first New Year’s Honours list.

The Labour councillor for Syon ward, who led the council from 2014 – 2022, was made a Member of the British Empire ‘for services to Local Government and to the community in Hounslow.’

He stood down in May when he announced he was being treated for cancer.

Steve told The Chiswick Calendar he was “very pleased” to receive the award, which he has known about and had to keep quiet about for several months.

Under his leadership Hounslow was awarded the title of Council of the Year in the Local Government Chronicle Awards.

READ ALSO: LB Hounslow wins Council of the Year award

Image above: Deputy Leader of Hounslow Council Katherine Dunne with former Leader of Hounslow Steve Curran at Chiswick Flower Market

Challenges of dealing with the pandemic and the financial crisis

As leader he faced the challenge of dealing with the pandemic, in which more than 500 people in Hounslow died. Hounslow Council set up community hubs to deliver food parcels to people who were shielding.

“I was pleased at the way everyone came together” he told us, “it brought everyone together and we were all rowing in the same direction.”

When we interviewed him in April 2020 he told us: “What keeps me awake at night is the thought that we might miss someone.”

READ ALSO: “What keeps me awake at night is the thought that we might miss someone.”

Now he says the collaboration the Council built up with the NHS and the police over that period created partnerships and introduced ways of working together that he thinks will last.

He was very critical of the way in which the government handled Covid, in particular, the way they dealt with local authorities on the front line of providing support.

READ ALSO: Government “risks lives” by not communicating with councils says Steve Curran

Image above: Breaking ground for a new housing project

“Thousands of families now have new homes”

Asked what he was most proud of, he told us it was the creation of thousands of new council houses in the borough: “Thousands of families now have new homes”, but also the Council’s management of their finances during the years of austerity and financial crisis since 2010.

Cllr Katherine Dunne, who worked with him closely as a member of Cabinet and is now Deputy Leader of LB Hounslow, told us she was “delighted for him” and that he deserved the award for his dedication.

“Like most of us in the Cabinet Steve didn’t have any work-life balance and he only had the one phone number. IT were trying to persuade him to have a second mobile so he could separate out work and personal life but he just said ‘what do I want two phones for? I’m not a drug dealer’.”

She thinks he will be remembered for the amount of development in Hounslow. “He liked to get things done” she said. “I didn’t always agree with him but once he’d made his mind up you just had to get on with it.”

Images above: Cllr Dunne and Cllr Curran; Cllr Curran posing beside a stone with an inscription that bears his name at a ground breaking ceremony for a new housing development

During his term as leadership the development of Brentford town centre began to take shape, Brentford FC planned and moved into their new stadium and Hounslow town centre saw a new development of housing and a new entertainment complex.

“One of the last things I did with Steve, the day after his leaving party when he was not very well at all, we went to mark the breaking ground of Block D in Brentford town centre. There is an inscription with his name on and I think it is the thing he is most proud of.”

Steve is now recovering from the treatment for his cancer, having received the all clear from his doctors.

Images above: Lesley Watts, CEO of West Middlesex University Hospital (photograph West Middlesex University Hospital); Peter Gilham, Player Welfare Manager at Brentford Football Club (photograph Brentford Football Club)

Brentford’s Peter Gilham, CEO of West Middlesex University Hospital Lesley Watts and the oldest volunteer in the NHS, Beryl Carr, among other west Londoners to be awarded by the King

Peter Gilham, Player Welfare Manager at Brentford Football Club, also received an award in the new year’s honours, as did Lesley Watts, CEO of West Middlesex University Hospital and Beryl Carr, an NHS volunteer at Ealing hospital.

Peter Gilham was awarded an Order of the British Empire medal (BEM) ‘for services to Association Football and to the community in the London Borough of Hounslow.’ He is the longest serving PA announcer in the UK.

Known as ‘Mr Brentford’, he is very visible on match days when he announces the teams and urges on supporters to give them plenty of vocal encouragement.

Lesley Watts received a CBE for her ‘service to the NHS’.

Image above: Beryl Carr

Beryl Carr, an NHS Volunteer at the League of Friends Cafe, Ealing Hospital, was awarded a BEM ‘for services to the community in West London.’

Beryl is 100 and has been helping out at the League of Friends Café since she was 81, working on the till, making sandwiches and serving customers.

She is the oldest volunteer in the NHS. She told ITV News reporter Martin Stew at the time of her 100th birthday in January that she enjoyed the companionship of working in the café.

It is very important to get out of the house, she told him:

“You must socialise… Think positive.”

Her first paid job was making barrage balloons to protect London from German bombs during the blitz

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

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