Former NatWest banker and administrator of the Royal College of Music in Little Casterton, near Stamford, received MBE for service to the arts
A former banker who made a career in the city was awarded an MBE for services to the arts in the New Year’s honors list.
Andrew Haigh, of Little Casterton, has worked with, advised and assisted all branches of the arts – including music, art and theater – in governance, finance and business.
“It was a total surprise,” said Andrew.
“You get this official-looking letter from the Cabinet office and you’re like ‘oh no, what’s wrong’!
“The most important thing is probably to know what difference you have been able to make.
“It’s good that someone acknowledged what you did, because often these roles are hidden helpers. “
Andrew has lived in Little Casterton for over 20 years, but before he retired four years ago it was more of a weekend retreat away from work life in London.
An international role with NatWest also took him to China for two years, creating the country’s first private bank, as well as New York.
A long-standing interest in the arts was reinforced by obtaining a degree in art history from the University of London in his spare time.
He is currently treasurer of the Chisenhale Gallery in London, a small gallery which gives budding artists their first exhibition – a list that includes several Turner Prize winners.
Andrew, 63, is also a trustee and chairman of the finance committee of the Hepworth Wakefield Art Museum in the West Yorkshire town where he grew up.
“I’ve always had a keen interest in the arts, even when I was busy doing stuff in the finance industry,” he said.
“He has continued with a succession of organizations over the years and the intention is to continue.”
In July, he completed his second and final five-year term as a trustee of the Royal College of Music, but continues to serve on committee roles.
Outside of the boardroom, Andrew’s voice was recorded at the same Abbey Road studios where the Beatles worked, as the background vocalist for the Hooked on Classic series.
“My moment of glory came a very long time ago when my hourly rate for singing was actually higher than what I had for banking,” he said.
“I think I made a very sensible decision about where my future was!”
While funding the arts has always been far from straightforward, Andrew’s services have grown in importance as the pandemic continues to challenge the industry.
“It channels my mind and there’s a real feeling of giving something back and making a difference,” he said.
“I’ve always been a hard worker rather than someone who just puts their name on a board membership list. Organizations need people to do things.
More New Years accolades from this region – click here