Hackney Downs grandmother receives Pride of Britain award

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Pride of Britain winner Alice Burke (credit: Philip Coburn)
Pride of Britain winner Alice Burke (credit: Philip Coburn)

A great grandmother who spent years driving out gangs and drug dealers from her crime-plagued Hackney estate has been honoured with a national award recognising her bravery.

Alice Burke, 78, who last week won a Pride of Britain Award, has been campaigning to make Hackney Downs’ Nightingale Estate a safe place to live since the early 1990s.

“I was mugged about 400 yards from where I lived,” Mrs Burke told the Hackney Post. “A lot of elderly people were being held at knife point, a lot of people’s houses were being ransacked.”

Mrs Burke, who set up a residents’ association in 1993, continued: “It was infringing on my life and the way I wanted to bring my children up – in a safe environment. It triggered me to get in touch with the police and start pushing to have a more visible presence on the estate.”

Mrs Burke conceded that the area has “improved immensely”.

“The government has cut so much from the council, we’re not able to do as much as we used to.

“They’ve got to give us the money to fight the drug dealers, to fight the gangs, to educate the kids.”

Neighbours were quick to praise Mrs Burke, who is also a Hackney Homes board member. Carol, 45, who has lived in the area for over a decade, said: “Alice comes by all the time. She is so personable, she’s really good with people. Alice is our voice, she really is.”

Councillor Philip Glanville, Cabinet Member for Housing, added: “Alice is a truly remarkable resident … who continues to make a difference to the lives of many, not just on the Nightingale Estate but throughout the borough.”

Hackney’s most recent police statistics show a 44 per cent reduction in crime over the five years up to 2013.