A VETERAN Croydon councillor has been recognised for her contribution to the borough in the New Year Honours.
Margaret Mead, who is about to embark on her 25th year as a councillor, has been appointed MBE for civic and community services in Croydon. The citation makes particular reference to her role as the first chair of the Croydon Health and Wellbeing Board and as founder of the Croydon Carers' Support Centre in George Street, which opened in September 2013.
Councillor Mead, 70, now joins her husband and fellow councillor, Dudley, who was appointed MBE in 2012.
She has represented Heathfield ward on the council since 1990 and has always had an interest in health and social services.
Cllr Mead was Mayor of Croydon in 2009/10. When the Conservatives took control of the council in 2006 she was appointed cabinet member for adult care, adding health services to her portfolio in 2011.
The Health and Wellbeing Board officially started its work in 2012 with Cllr Mead in the chair. Since Labour won May's council elections, she has served as the board's vice-chair.
The board is a partnership between the council, hospitals, GPs, other health services and voluntary groups. Its brief is to promote a healthy lifestyle among residents of the borough and help ensure finances are channelled towards those who need them most. Cllr Mead said: "Croydon does have some health challenges and we believe we can obtain a better outcome by working together. The board has an important role in encouraging that."
She said the idea for the carers' support centre came out of her work as a cabinet member and her desire to help the borough's 30,000 or so carers. The centre is supported by the Whitgift Foundation and the council and has dealt with around 22,000 inquiries since it opened.
It offers both direct support for carers, with back up from a variety of voluntary groups which have offices in the premises. Cllr Mead said: "I am delighted with the way the centre has gone. It has been important to make sure that the person carers speak to is someone who can help resolve any issues they have."
Speaking about her honour from the Queen, Cllr Mead said: "It was a lovely surprise but totally unexpected. The letter informing me came a few days after my daughter, Helen, gave birth to her first child and it was great to have two pieces of good news so close together. It is very humbling to find that people think enough of you to your name forward."
The Meads have lived in the borough since they were married in 1970.