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Former NatWest banker and Royal College of Music trustee from Little Casterton, near Stamford, awarded MBE for services to the arts

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A former banker who made a career in the City has been awarded an MBE for services to the arts in the New Year Honours list.

Andrew Haigh, from Little Casterton, has worked with, advised and helped all arms of the arts - including music, art, and theatre - in areas of governance, finance and enterprise.

“It was a complete surprise,” said Andrew.

Andrew has spent more than two decades lending his skills to the arts sector
Andrew has spent more than two decades lending his skills to the arts sector

“You get this official-looking letter from the Cabinet office and you think ‘oh no, what’s gone wrong’!

“Probably the biggest thing is knowing the difference you have been able to make.

“It’s nice that someone has recognised what you have done because often these roles are as hidden helpers.”

Andrew has called Little Casterton home for more than 20 years, but before retirement four years ago it was more of a weekend retreat from working life in London.

An international role with NatWest also took him to China for two years, setting up the country’s first private bank, as well as New York.

A lifelong interest in the arts was enhanced by completing a diploma in art history at the University of London in his spare time.

He is currently treasurer of the Chisenhale Gallery in London, a small gallery which gives aspiring artists their first show - a list that includes several Turner Prize winners.

Andrew, 63, is also trustee and finance committee chairman for the Hepworth Wakefield art museum in the West Yorkshire town where he grew up.

“I’ve always had a strong interest in the arts even when I was busy doing finance sector stuff,” he said.

“It has carried on with a succession of organisations over the years and the intention is to continue to carry on.”

In July he completed his second and final five-year term as trustee with the Royal College of Music, but continues to have committee roles.

Away from the boardroom, Andrew’s voice has been recorded in the same Abbey Road studios that the Beatles famously worked in, as a background singer 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 then what I got for banking,” he said.

“I think I made a very sensible decision on where my future lay!”

While financing the arts has always been less than straightforward, Andrew’s services have become increasingly important as the pandemic continues to challenge the sector.

“It channels my mind and there is a real sense of giving something back and making a difference,” he said.

“I’ve always been a worker rather than someone who just puts their name on a list of board members. Organisations need people to do things.”

More New Year Honours from this area - click here

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