John Boyne-Aitken receives British Empire Medal
Freeman of the Company, John Boyne-Aitken has received a British Empire Medal in the New Years Honours for his services to heritage crafts. This is an amazing achievement and well deserved. John gave up much of his time and worked tirelessly as Chair of the Register of Professional Turners for several years, supporting professional turners and helping others to get onto the Register. He is also Chair of the Trowbridge based Kennet & Avon Woodturners Club. John is delighted with the honour, and gives thanks to those who have supported him along the way. John writes:
I am really excited about the award and I think Jenny is excited about the prospect of a new dress (!) for the garden party.
I am indebted to Mr Phil Lobb who nominated me, he was the vice-chairman of my local club and an MBE holder himself. Although I am not privvy to what was written about me I was told that the sponsors were Past Master Peter Gibson, Liveryman and RPT Les Thorne and RPT Mike Wood who sat on my committee when I was the Chairman RPT. There was one other person and that was George Charlton who was my local club secretary until stepping down recently. So whatever was written it certainly worked because here I am now, John R Boyne-Aitken BEM.
I think Phil nominated me originally because of the work I did to maintain Kennet and Avon Woodturning club during the pandemic. I managed to set up my workshop as a studio and broadcast live remote demonstrations to my club every month. But similar to what happened with the RPT during lockdown, I set up an extra meeting each month just so that my members could have a chat together. It was a difficult time for most of us but as some of my members lived alone I thought it would be of some comfort to chat with fellow club members and compare turnings. It worked very well and my club actually increased membership during that period.
But I also understand that the work I carried out with the AWGB and the RPT was also mentioned and played a major part in the award.
The timing of the award could have been better, I was diagnosed with cancer in October and underwent a major operation 2 weeks before Christmas and so the news that I was in the New Year’s Honours list certainly gave Jenny and I a great lift and my 2 children Alex and Katie were equally pleased when we told them. Two days before Christmas I was given the all clear and so I can honestly say that these last few months have been a roller coaster of emotions culminating in the announcement in the London Gazette.
As I write this it is 3 weeks since the operation but I am progressing very well and I am determined to be back at work, albeit on very light duties, by the end of the month. Woodturning is very therapeutic and I am sure it will play a large part in my recovery.
I would like to express my thanks to those that sent me good wishes and congratulations.
Best wishes to all
John R Boyne-Aitken BEM
Link to article in the Wiltshire Times.
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