Martyn Featherstone MBE
Congratulations to our celebrated member of staff Martyn Featherstone who received his MBE this year. We loved hearing about this achievement and learning about the long history Martyn has with the school. From student of the former Teesside College of Art, to a stunning 37 year career with us teaching young creatives through one or two of our name changes. He even came out of retirement to support the school and be a part of this year’s first summer show at Newport Road. Read on to find out more about the ceremony, his creative contributions to our School and how he will celebrate his second retirement.
Congratulations on your MBE, how do you feel about it?
I feel absolutely honoured to have been honoured in the first place. It was quite surreal originally even up to the point of receiving my honour at Windsor Castle. I could not believe that I had been recommended for such a prestigious award.
Can you tell us about the process?
I was nominated by the principal, Martin Raby – who I have thanked personally! I was contacted by email originally on my college account. I thought it was a scam initially and it took me several minutes to pluck up the courage to open the attachment. I went to the car and phoned my wife to tell her and her reaction was to say it was a scam and put the phone down on me!
Can you tell us about the day and who awarded it?
The actual day was unforgettable! I took my son Stuart as a family representative and also as an ex-3D student. Security was tight but everyone, including the armed police were exceptionally friendly. You were made to feel extremely welcome! It was a long wait. We had to be at Windsor Castle at 9.45am and then it was a matter of waiting. Before I went into my investiture everyone in the room with me were taken through the formalities. My investiture was just before 12 noon by HRH Prince of Wales. He talked to me for two minutes as he presented me with my MBE. He asked me if I was still working. I mentioned I had retired to which he replied ‘Oh lovely are you enjoying it? I replied ‘Yes, but it hasn’t lasted long as I am going back to work!’ He laughed when I told him that it seems the school couldn’t do without me! Shaking my hand was the sign to retire three paces, bow and leave the room. The one thing I cannot forget is just how close he was to me as he pinned the medal on my lapel!
Tell us anything you would like to about your work with the school?
I think I am the longest serving academic member of staff. I retired after teaching on the 3D diploma for over 37 years. In the 1980’s and 1990’s before there was a marketing team the college used to use staff to design projects. I have designed a college prospectus, the management offices, I was commissioned to design the college reception desk and I even designed the only summer show exhibition in 1988 that was organised by the late David Waddington in his role as HOD which took place at the Dragonara Hotel in Middlesbrough.
I have shared an affection for the school/college since I started here as a student in 1972 (Teesside College of Art). In September I will have a quiet drink at home with a pint of Skye beer to celebrate a magical and unforgettable 50 years of friendships with some incredibly passionate staff and some extremely talented students!
Having retired without a final show in 2021 was a bit of an anti-climax and left a huge hole in my final memories of the college. When I was asked to return to help out I was not going to say no! Having organised and designed a slimmed down exhibition – I now have ‘closure’ and can return to my retirement in a few weeks – A very happy man!