A TEACHER who was thrown out of her country 30 years ago
has received a top honour from the Queen.
Philomena Mendonca (61), now a teacher in Peterborough,
is one of a host of local people to receive gongs today
in The Queen's Birthday Honours list.
Mrs Mendonca was one of 60,000 Asians ordered to leave
Uganda by the tyrannical president, Idi Amin, in 1972.
She came to England with her husband and two children
before settling in Peterborough.
She has been working as a teacher at Sacred Heart Primary
School, in Bretton, since 1974.
Today, after hearing that she had become a Member of
the British Empire (MBE) for her services to education,
Mrs Mendonca, of Holdfield, Ravensthorpe, said: "I
really feel honoured to receive this. It's wonderful.
I feel that I owe my parents and all the people who have
touched my life.
"It's been a struggle coming to a new country, but
the people who I work with and who live near us have become
like a family."
Also honoured was Chris Stevenson, a former Peterborough
detective who led the investigation which snared double
child murderer Ian Huntley.
Mr Stevenson (54) joined the investigation into the deaths
of 10-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in August
2002 – and three days later Huntley was arrested.
During his 20 years in Peterborough, Mr Stevenson worked
on high- profile murder cases, including the shooting
of Amanda Letch and the killing of Scott Kisbee (25).
He also led an inquiry into crimes committed by former
Cambridgeshire police custody sergeant Paul Banfield,
who was convicted of two rapes, an indecent assault and
burglary with intent to rape in 2000. He was jailed for
Mr Stevenson today pledged the award of the Queen's Police
Medal to every member of staff he had worked alongside.
He said: "I am extremely honoured to receive the
Queen's Police Medal in the New Year Honours List and
I accept it on behalf of every single member of the investigation
team who were involved in the successful investigation
of the Soham murders as well as every officer and member
of police staff who I have been privileged to work alongside
during my career."
Former Peterborough City Councillor Nazim Khan was also
honoured, becoming a MBE for his work in the community.
Mr Khan, from Millfield, Peterborough, has been recognised
in particular for the leadership he has shown and his
services to the diverse communities in Peterborough.
One of his major achievements was the establishment of
Gladstone Sure Start in 1999.
He is the founding chair of Gladstone Connect, which
is implementing ambitious plans to improve health, education
and housing for the benefit of all residents living in
He said: "I am absolutely delighted to receive this
award from Her Majesty and believe this will encourage
myself and others to continue to work for a neighbourhood
which is both proud and positive."
Sarah Aiton, the fiancée of Peterborough-born
windsurfer Nick Dempsey, was made an MBE for services
to sailing. Aiton was part of a gold-medal winning crew
at the Athens Olympics.
Other people honoured include: