Clapton estate champion rewarded in Queen’s Birthday Honours List

A woman who championed her Clapton estate and worked tirelessly to improve it was rewarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Alice Burke was honoured with a British Empire Medal for services to housing in Hackney.

Chair of the Nightingale estate’s Tenants Residents Association (TRA) for 20 years until she stepped down earlier this year and Vice Chair of the Hackney Homes board, Ms Burke has dedicated a large part of her life to her estate.

She said: “This means the absolute earth to me. It has made me so proud. I’m lost for words and I thank whoever did it from the bottom of my heart. To think that I’m worthy of it is an honour.

“It’s something I didn’t expect. You never think you are going to get anything like that and when it happens it leaves you speechless.”

Since Ms Burke moved into her home on the Nightingale Estate in 1975, she has fought for it. She founded the residents association in 1993 and campaigned for government money for regeneration.

She explained: “In those days we had prostitutes, we had gun runners. It was horrible to live here and we worked with the council and the police and we got rid of all of them after a long stint.

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“We had 70 per cent of crime in Hackney. Now we have only one per cent. It’s a pleasure to walk the estate now.

“That is what we were aiming for and we have achieved it. People nod at you; it’s a community now to what it was and that’s so nice.”

Ms Burke continues to work to tackle antisocial behaviour and won an award for her Antisocial Behaviour Project in 2010.

Chair of Hackney Homes Board Rupert Tyson MBE said: “The Board is delighted that Alice has been awarded. It is long overdue for her selfless and tireless work for the residents of Hackney in general and Nightingale estate in particular.”