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London bicycle messenger Papillon receives 2011 Markus Cook Award for services to the messenger community
1.11.11 by Buffalo Bill

After being nominated for the 2nd year running, Stephanie ‘Papillon’ Bartczak has been presented the Markus Cook Award for services to the messenger community. Papillon is well-known within the messenger community for being very active within the organisation of the London Courier Emergency Fund, which exists to give financial assistance to London’s bicycle messengers and couriers who suffer injury whilst working. She helped found the Fund in 2007, and has worked to build it up constantly since then.

Here is her nomination from last year, taken from an email by Stefan ‘Fish’ Vis:

I’ve seen what an impact one person can have on a local community. I mean a lot. but this one is exceptional. and I second Buffalo Bill’s rant at the bar in the haphazard squat in london, at the three day locals event called London’s Calling.

I am talking about someone who has been a messenger for many years in London, she had a dream to set up a local bike messenger emergency fund. She realized that dream, gave the orders to possibly the most wanted caps in europe, left London shattered and came back to where she belongs, and went straight back to her real love. That is raising money for the injured messengers who have to work under extremely unfair circumstances for european standards.

She has found a great team to make all this happen, and the fundraisers they organize are worth making a trip to London. London’s calling is one of them fundraisers. It’s an event that longs to be international! Only in the last month they managed to raise over, i dont know, a LOT of money and this does not only come from generous gifts from, and beer drinking messengers.

There’s not much I can add to what Fish, himself a well-known & respected figure within the international messenger community, has said above, except to say that there is no other recipient of the MCA who has demonstrated more of a spirit of selflessness than Papillon. I think Brice, who nominated her this year, put it very well in his letter to the MCA committee:

I’d like to nominate Stephanie aka “Papillon” for all her hard work in organising, helping, supporting and all the many various “ings” there are in the English vocabulary. Steph is one hell of a woman, and has done so much for London’s messengers.

I am sure that I speak for all London’s couriers & messengers when I say thanks for everything you have done, and enjoy the approbation & applause of your peers, you deserve it!

MCA trophy pic: Elisabeth Blanchet

What is the Markus Cook Award?
The MCA was conceived as a way for the international messenger community to thank it’s most tireless workers. Nominations are sought from the messenger community for those individuals who have done most for us, for those who have consistently put the rest of us before themselves. The principle means of nomination is the IFBMA electronic mailing list, aka the messengers list. The decision is taken by committee of former recipients, and the award is now presented on Messenger Appreciation Day, which is October 9th.

The MCA was inaugurated in 1998 to honour the memory of Markus Cook, aka Fur, a key figure in the San Francisco messenger scene, and one of the leaders of the international messenger community. His great dream was to bring the Cycle Messenger World Championships to SF in 1996, but never lived to see his dream realised. He died Jan 3 1996, aged 35, of an accidental heroin overdose.

Markus himself was very much in love with the international messenger community, and in many ways he was the unlikeliest bike racer imaginable, despite being a veteran messenger. He was several other things, of course. Editor of Mercury Rising messenger zine, unofficial spokesperson of the SFBMA, leader of L Sid, and a friend to all. The enthusiasm of Markus brought CMWC and the international messenger community to San Francisco, and it saddens many people to this day that he did not live to see it. You can read my personal recollection of Markus and how he came to inspire me to create the award here.

Previous recipients are:

2010 – Nadir Olivet
2009 – Luk Keller
2008 – Banana
2007 – Andy Zalan
2006 – ‘Squid’ & Amy Bolger
2005 – Jean Andre Vallery
2004 – Buffalo Bill
2003 – Wayne Scott
2002 – Derek Chadbourne
2001 – Joel Metz
2000 – John Kenda & the Philadelphia BMA – Boston/Philadelphia, US
1999 – Rebecca Reilly
1998 – Joe Hendry

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  1. Good on yeah girl knew you are a diamond any one who got past the Del test is a hero of mine much missed

    — curly    2 November 2011, 23:09    #
  2. Thanx Curly.. i miss him to and think of him often…

    — papillon    2 November 2011, 23:22    #
  3. I was thinking ov you as well

    — curly    2 November 2011, 23:57    #
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