Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, presented four students from the borough with bursaries to help fund their studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. The awards are given in memory of the 14 young people who died in the New Cross fire of 1981.

The awards ceremony happened on 28 February at the Civic Suite in Catford, where four students received £5,000 towards the costs of their three-year undergraduate courses. Sir Steve gave the awards to:

  • James Fox, studying for a BA in history
  • Neda Khalili, studying for a BA in popular music
  • Christine Samuels, studying for a BSc in psychology
  • Niquella Simpson-West, studying for a BA in politics.

Remembering victims of the New Cross fire

Sir Steve established the annual Mayor’s New Cross Award in 2006 as a lasting memorial to the victims of the New Cross fire. Now in its 12th year, the scheme aims to help young people in the Lewisham borough achieve their potential at university.

Opening the ceremony, Sir Steve said: ‘This scheme is about remembering one of the things that was lost as a result of the tragedy – the potential of 14 young people. These awards allow these four young people to achieve their potential, and that is a positive way to make sure the memories of the New Cross Fire victims live on.

‘This is my last time officiating the ceremony as Mayor of Lewisham and I want to say how fantastic it is to know that all the young people who have received these much-valued bursaries have gone on to achieve great things. I also want to thank Goldsmiths for their support and for making this scheme possible.’

About the recipients

James Fox

James has used his experience of digital product development and marketing to tackle the lack of diversity within the industry. He has given up his own time to run school workshops across London aimed at improving digital skills and raising aspirations of young people.

Neda Khalili

Born and raised in Lewisham, Neda is a singer and musician who leads singing and dancing classes for children aged 10–14 across the borough aimed at enhancing community cohesion.

Christine Samuels

Christine has done a range of voluntary work, from supporting the dyslexia unit at her school, to organising outreach projects and concerts at her church. More recently, she worked with the elderly community, transporting people to and from appointments and offering emotional support.

Niquella Simpson-West

Niquella founded the City Safe Haven program, which brought together local businesses to make sure young people had safe places to go whenever they were in trouble. She has also volunteered with local charities in the rehabilitation of young and adult offenders.