Couple given MBEs hope their honours will help save the Stonebridge playcentre

The pair have spent 30 years working with children in one of the borough’s poorest wards

A husband and wife who founded a children’s playcentre threatened with closure were both awarded MBEs in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list.

Douglas and Glynis Lee, who have sepnt the past three decade looking after hundreds of children at the centre, received the award for their services to the community.

The pair established Brent Play Association which runs the popular Stonebridge Adventure Playground in Shakespeare Crescent, Stonebridge - one of the most deprived wards in the country.

Mrs Lee said: “It is not very often people in our line of work get this recognition. Really this is on behalf of all the people who are working in the community.

“One of the best things about it is that we can raise the profile of Brent Play and especially Stonebridge Playground which we have already started a campaign for.”

Mr Lee agreed that the most important aspect of the award was the way it could be used to help their causes.

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He said: “What I hope is that this helps with the longevity for Stonebridge Playground which is under threat from cuts.

“My real ambition is to make sure that the adventure playground stays open after my death. I would actually very much like to have my ashes scattered there.”

The playcentre, which serves children from the nearby housing estate, could close its doors for good after it was plunged into a financial crisis through a lack of funding.

Its plight hit the national headlines when boxer Audley Harrison wore a t-shirt with the slogan ‘Keep Stonebridge Adventure Playground Open’ before his ill fated world title fight against David Haye in November.

Mr Lee said: “Stonebridge has had some bad press in the past.

“However I can honestly say that the children and parents in this area are among the most talented that I have ever worked with.”

Several residents in the borough have also been honoured by the Queen.

Pink Panther actor Herbert Kwouk and Gerald Ernest Oppenheim, a Big Lottery Fund director, both from Kilburn, have both been awarded an OBE.

Other recipients of an MBE from the borough are Lorraine Phelan, a biomedical scientist at St Mary’s Hospital, who lives in Wembley, for services to the NHS, Ratilal Shah from Wembley, for services to the Indian community and May White for her services to Brent.

Mrs Lee added: “We don’t know if we will get to meet the Queen yet but we will be going to Buckingham Palace when we receive our medals.

“It is great and we really appreciate all the people who nominated us.”