Harborough broadcaster receives OBE

Maggie Philbin.
Maggie Philbin.

Maggie Philbin, Harborough district broadcaster and CEO of young people’s technology organisation TeenTech, has received an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List.

The award was for her services to the Science, Technology and Engineering Community.

Maggie Philbin.

Maggie Philbin.

Many people know Maggie as a TV presenter, but her OBE is as much for her lower-profile work as co-founder of the highly-regarded TeenTech eight years ago.

The award winning organisation helps young people, their parents and teachers understand more about opportunities in science, technology and engineering.

In the 2016 Digital Leaders 100 Awards, Maggie was voted Digital Leader of the Year for her work with TeenTech. In June 2016, she won Computer Weekly’s most influential woman in UK IT 2016 award. She is also President of the Institute of Engineering Designers.

The Philbin family home was in Stoughton, then in Little Stretton in the north of the Harborough district. Maggie has links to a Harborough charity. She is patron of Market Harborough-based VASL (Voluntary Action South Leicestershire), where her sister Nickie also works.

“I’m very thrilled and honoured to be awarded an OBE” said Maggie. “It came as a massive surprise and it’s been very hard to keep quiet about it for the past four weeks.”

Maggie (61) worked on children’s TV programme Swap Shop in the late 70s and early 80s, before going on to present a series of science, medical and technology programmes from Tomorrow’s World to Bang Goes The Theory.

She said her TV career had led directly to her work with young people in TeenTech.

“I always felt immensely privileged to have worked on Tomorrow’s World. It wasn’t until then I had any idea how big the world of science and technology really was and that there were so many opportunities at different entry points. Hundreds of people have kindly said that seeing me on Tomorrow’s World inspired their future careers.

“I now ask them to pay it forward and support teenagers, often from challenged backgrounds, helping them see how they can be the ones building the technology to change tomorrow’s world.”

She explained TeenTech was formed after she was “struck by the profound lack of information about the opportunities available in tech across a range of sectors and industries.

“Students, parents, teachers, companies and often government too can have narrow perceptions of what might be possible. Far too much talent has been slipping away. I wanted to set up TeenTech to address this.”

“It’s wonderful to receive an OBE It makes me all the more determined to work hard to ensure I deserve it.”