A DJ from Hackney has been given a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2023 New Year Honours for services to charities through music during Covid-19.

DJ Spoony, also known as Johnathan Joseph, dedicated his BEM to his community and to his late mother, who taught him to express himself and "gave me rhythm".

DJ Spoony hosts a regular show on BBC Radio 2 and is a presenter for the Premier League, but first made a name for himself while DJing on pirate radio stations in the 1990s.

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During the pandemic, DJ Spoony hosted regular live streams, eventually several times a week, using his equipment at home to play a variety of music to help people "connect" and raise money for charity.

Over the course of 10 weeks in 2020, more than one million people tuned in to watch DJ Spoony’s House stream on Instagram and Twitch every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

He said: "I didn’t think for the life of me that those streams would have the impact that they did. No way could I have imagined it.

"And even up until now, I don’t think a week has passed since lockdown where I’ve not had a kind message from someone, or someone hasn’t stopped me in the street and said they came across me during lockdown."

With hours of garage, club classics, disco, soul and R&B and a special stream to celebrate his 50th birthday, DJ Spoony helped raise more than £20,000 for the NHS and various charities.

"I’ve got emotional on air a couple of times because of some of the messages people have sent, saying it was a very tricky time for a lot of us, and the community really came together," he added.

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Early in his career DJ Spoony formed trio the Dreem Teem with fellow DJs Mikee B and Timmi Magic.

With Dreem Teem, DJ Spoony joined radio station Kiss 100 in 1997 and later the trio went on to join BBC Radio 1, where they held the Sunday brunch-time slot until 2003.

DJ Spoony continued: "When I found out, it was an emotional moment because my mum is no longer here.

"And I know how delighted she would be, and I wasn’t able to call her and tell her.

"The sacrifices my mum made, the support, the belief."

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He added: "I learned to dance standing on her feet and she gave me rhythm.

"And maybe even more importantly, her allowing me to just go and express myself when I wanted to, you know, practising and playing music in the house.

"She just supported me every step of the way, so when I’ve looked for any kind of validation it’s only ever been from my mum.

"So that’s why, when I speak about it, I do get emotional, because she should be here to share that with me."