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Byte Night founder among tech community recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours List

Several leading individuals in the UK tech community received awards in the latest honours list

Byte Night founder Ken Deeks was among the members of the IT community that received recognition in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Deek received an MBE after founding the annual IT industry charity event in 1998 to raise funds for Action for Children to help homeless young people. The event has grown into one of the UK’s largest business fundraising events.

Last year, the sleep-out attracted 1,300 people and raised over £1m in one night. In total, Byte Night has brought in over £7.2m in donations since its inception. Deeks is a former head of a technology PR agency and now runs training company Amber Group.

Also honoured in the list was Helen Milner, chief executive of the Tinder Foundation, who received an OBE. Tinder is a not-for-profit, staff-owned mutual that aims to help the 11 million people on the wrong side of the UK’s digital divide to become confident with digital and online technologies. Tinder last year won a government contract to support its digital inclusion strategy.

Jenny Griffiths, CEO and founder of Snap Fashion, a tech startup that developed an app for the fashion sector, was awarded an MBE. Snap Fashion was founded by 25-year-old computer science graduate Griffiths in 2012. The business used the promise of Technology Strategy Board funding to attract private investors and develop its novel search engine. Since then, it has won the prestigious $175,000 Cisco BIG award and the Decoded Fashion startup pitch. The search engine, devised with computer vision technology, uses colour, form and pattern to seek out similar items from among the products sold by more than 170 high street retailers.

Eileen Burbidge also received an MBE for her work as partner at London venture capital firm Passion Capital, which has supported a number of startup technology businesses. She previously worked for Yahoo, Skype, PalmSource, Openwave, Sun and Apple, and sits on the advisory board for Tech City UK. Along with Helen Milner, Burbidge was nominated as one of the 50 most influential women in UK IT in Computer Weekly’s latest annual poll.

Another nominee for the 50 most influential women in UK IT, Nicola Mendelsohn, vice-president of Europe, Middle East and Africa operations at Facebook and co-chair of the Creative Industries Council, was awarded a CBE for services to the creative industries. 

Ed Richards, until recently chief executive at telecoms regulator Ofcom, received a CBE. And Judith Butler, chair of the board for the Cyber Security Challenge UK, was awarded an OBE for services to the development of cyber skills.

Rural broadband campaigners Barry Forde and Christine Conder, founders of B4RN, which is rolling out gigabit broadband in areas outside BT's network, were awarded MBEs. 

Malcolm Cates, head of ICT in the Prime Minister's Office, received an MBE for services to IT modernisation in the public sector. Ian Readhead, director of information at the Association of Chief Police Officers, was awarded an OBE. And Zarine Kharas, founder and CEO of online charity fundraising website Justgiving.com, received a DBE. 

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