Jennifer Berbeck, from Catford, was recognised with the Star of South London award this month as part of the South London Press Our Heroes Awards. She dedicated her award to staff working for public sector services.
Jennifer who has worked for Lewisham council since she was 19, was made redundant in July. The South London Press wrote an article on Jennifer’s job search earlier this month.
During her 32 years in the council’s housing and antisocial behaviour departments, Jennifer volunteered as a trustee at the Marsh Phoenix Memorial Trust young women’s homeless charity in Brockley.
The 52-year old’s past has been touched by tragedy – her brother, Anthony, was injured in the New Cross fire in 1981, which killed 13 young black people. Anthony died 18 months later, aged 20.
Since the tragedy, she has been a member of the New Cross Fire Families Committee which commemorates the blaze that claimed the young lives.
After receiving the award, she told the audience: “I am picking up this award on behalf of people who work in public service and who do voluntary work. We can all make a difference to the world in our own way.”
“I couldn’t have done what I have alone. There are many people who have helped me along the way.”
Jennifer has lived in Lewisham borough all her life and went to Kings Alfred Girls’ school in Holbeach Road.
(For those that do not recognise the school; it was renamed Lewisham Girls 1n 1974 and moved to Manwood Road, Brockley. It was renamed again to Crofton in the 80s. )