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Video: Brent-raised Aswad singer Brinsley Forde made a MBE

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:59 31 December 2014

Brinsley Forde has been awarded an MBE (Pic credit: PA)

Brinsley Forde has been awarded an MBE (Pic credit: PA)

Matt Crossick/Empics Entertainment

A musician, actor and broadcaster who grew up in Brent has been named in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.

Reggae singer Don Campbell also went to John Kelly Boys School (Pic credit: Angela Blake)Reggae singer Don Campbell also went to John Kelly Boys School (Pic credit: Angela Blake)

Brinsley Forde, founding member of reggae band Aswad, has been made a MBE for services to the arts.

The 61-year old first found fame as a child actor in the BBC children’s comedy series Here Come The Double Deckers - which first screened in 1970.

A former student of John Kelly Boys’ School in Crest Road, Neasden, (now Crest Academy), he also made appearances as a pupil in the ITV sitcom Please Sir, which starred John Alderton as a newly-qualified teacher trying to keep order in the classroom, as well as a brief role in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever.

Aswad, which formed in the mid 1970s and by 1977, had been the backing band for Jamaican star Burning Spear.

After their formation Forde played a key part in the film Babylon, about the disillusionment of black communities in south London in 1980, with his band featuring on the soundtrack.

The band become one of the UK’s leading reggae acts and after a number of albums which appealed mainly to the music’s fan base, they found commercial appeal with a more polished mainstream sound that landed them a number one hit with Don’t Turn Around in 1988.

The following year they recorded two versions of ‘On and On’ one for their mainstream fans and the second which featured singer Sweetie Irie was more popular on the reggae scene.

In recent years Mr Forde has gone on to carve out a successful career as a broadcaster after becoming one of the first DJs on BBC digital station 6 Music with his Lively Up Yourself programme.

He has also presented radio documentaries and the VH1 programme Soul Vibrations and collaborated with acts such as Dizzee Rascal.

Speaking about his honour he said: “I’m really proud and I think the important thing is that someone thinks you are worthy of nominating and has appreciated what you have done.”

“With something like this you don’t really want to say anything, so I have been keeping it very low key and I haven’t been getting too excited.”

Delroy Washington, a Harlesden-based musician and founder of the Federation Of Reggae Music, went to school with Mr Forde.

He told the Times: “This is great news. Brinsley is a great success within the black music industry and he was one of the first young black actors to be featured regularly on television.

“With former alumni such as Junior English, Paul Dawkins and Don Campbell, John Kelly Boys School has produced more UK reggae singers than any other school in the country.”


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