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The Corporation

Posted: 16/05/16

By royal appointment

Two governors of the same Mansfield school have spoken of their pride at receiving MBEs from The Duke of Cambridge at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Malcolm (left) and Martin (right) proudly hold their MBE insignias.

Martin Rigley and Malcolm Hall were presented with their insignias by HRH Prince William last Friday (13 May 2016) after being made MBEs in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List.

Martin, managing director of Sutton-in-Ashfield company Lindhurst Engineering, was honoured for services to business and innovation, while Malcolm, founder and managing director of Mansfield-based Hall-Fast Industrial Supplies, was recognised for services to business.

Both serve as governors of Vision Studio School – a new type of educational establishment for 14 to 19-year-olds, sponsored by West Nottinghamshire College, where Malcolm is also a governor.

Martin, the studio school’s vice-chair of governors, joined family business Lindhurst Engineering in 1994 after beginning his career as an apprentice electrical engineer with British Coal. The £4m-turnover company serves the utilities, construction, transport and low-carbon sectors, and is currently spearheading a pioneering project to turn organic waste into energy – a process called anaerobic digestion – for use across various industries.

The chartered engineer has a keen interest in promoting British engineering excellence and steering the agenda for developing technical skills within the sector. He chairs both the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership’s Transport Equipment Manufacturing Group and the N2 Employment and Skills Board.

Commenting on his MBE, Martin said: “To be at Buckingham Palace in the company of so many amazing people and to meet Prince William was just amazing. It’s a wonderful honour to be recognised in this way and I felt a mixture of immense pride and humility.

“Speaking to some of the other recipients and hearing about the wonderful things they’re doing for this country made me feel incredibly privileged and very British.

“Although I only spoke to Prince William briefly, the memories will last a lifetime. The whole experience, not to mention the sense of occasion and history, was just breath-taking.

“I hope this award inspires other people. I wasn’t the highest achiever at school but it just shows you what you can achieve with tenacity. I’m proud to be part of the studio school and to have an opportunity to give young people a chance to gain employment in the engineering and manufacturing sectors, which can lead to so many interesting and rewarding careers.”

Malcolm started Hall-Fast – a supplier of industrial and commercial equipment, tools, workwear and components – in 2006 from his back bedroom. It now has over 18,000 customers in 90 countries, 475 suppliers and over 200,000 products within its standard range. The company has won 29 major business awards and has plans to turn-over £4m within the next few years.

Its online strategy for exports and business growth has been held up as an example of best practice by the government, UK Trade & Investment and the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce.

Reflecting on collecting his MBE, Malcolm said: “I’m immensely proud. It was a fantastic day and one I’ll cherish for the rest of my life; I know it’s made my wife, my children and my family very proud indeed. I don’t mind admitting I shed a few tears the night before, when I contemplated the achievement.

“I don’t know whether two governors from the same school have received awards on the same day before, so it was really nice to share the experience with Martin and to celebrate together.

“Leaving school with no qualifications, I was pretty much written-off by everybody, so to get an MBE for services to business is something I could never have dreamt of. It’s testament to never giving up.

“Both Martin and I have said that we’d have benefitted from a place like the studio school when we were young; that’s why we’re so passionate about it. I’m equally proud to be a governor of West Notts College and I enjoyed telling His Royal Highness about my links with both organisations, along with a little bit about my business.”

Chris Hatherall, principal of Vision Studio School, said: “I’m thrilled for Martin and Malcolm on achieving their much-deserved royal recognition. They have both made huge contributions to the business communities of Mansfield and Ashfield in recent years and, as governors, have dedicated significant time and energy towards ensuring students have the very best educational opportunities.

“It’s an honour to have two such inspirational and selfless individuals as governors and I congratulate them on their wonderful achievements.”