Press Release: Creator of BBC Characters JoJo and Gran Gran Awarded MBE in New Years Honours List
Laura Henry-Allain, award-winning, international Early Years author, speaker, consultant and creator of the BBC’s popular CBeebies characters JoJo and Gran Gran, has been awarded an MBE for Services to Education in the New Year Honours List. Laura is delighted to be included on the list alongside so many inspiring people who have each made an outstanding contribution in their particular field, including in local organisations and communities.
Recognition comes at the end of an extraordinary year for Laura, in which her characters JoJo and Gran Gran were adapted by the BBC to form the basis of a new show of the same name. This is the first animated series in the UK that features a black British family.
- Laura has spent more than 30 years working in Early Years, providing professional advice across the sector nationally and internationally.
- She started a Twitter community that now has almost 24,000 followers, sharing effective pedagogy and advice on early education with professionals worldwide.
- For several years, she organised the international Early Years Safeguarding conference. She ensured a number of complimentary places went to those on a low income and students, making this unique conference inclusive and diverse.
- She is vice president of the British Association of Early Childhood Organisation, a national charity that supports Early Years educators with training, resources and professional networks and campaigns for quality education for the youngest children.
- She is an ambassador for the Jermain Defoe Foundation, which supports homeless, vulnerable and abused children in St Lucia, Dominica and the UK.
- She is a mentor to many young people and has represented England for several years at the World Forum for Early Education and Care.
In 2010, she created the children’s book series JoJo and Gran Gran, which went on to inspire the creation of the CBeebies TV series.
“I am absolutely delighted to be honoured with an MBE. I was shocked and emotional when I heard the news. I left school at 16 and worked as a clerk typist before starting a college course in Early Years education when I was 19. I knew then that I had found my passion! Since then I have dedicated my whole career to working with children, parents and those who work with them. I have gone on to complete more qualifications in education and management and being awarded this MBE, for Services to Education, is simply remarkable. I dedicate my MBE to my cousin, Junior, who recently loss his battle with cancer.”