Renowned glassmaker Tom Young has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours list. Mr Young, co-founder of Stirling family firm Angels’ Share Glass, was given the honour to mark his long service to the glassmaking industry.
He was shocked and delighted to receive the award which will be presented to him at St James Palace, London during a ceremony in the summer.
Mr Young, 78, said: “I’m overwhelmed, humbled and very grateful for this award which I never expected to receive and had no idea I had been nominated for.
“Glassmaking is my passion in life and is something I’ve done and enjoyed doing for the past 60 years’
“I’ve been lucky enough to make a career doing something I love and I’m pleased to be able to continue to work and to have passed my love of glass on to my family especially my daughter Karen.
“Glassmaking is a great Scottish creative industry and I’m still training apprentices who will help keep the tradition alive for many years to come.”
Mr Young, who lives in Bridge of Allan near Stirling, was nominated for the honour in recognition of his services to the Glassmaking industry in the UK and beyond. In a long career, he was one of the first two Scots to be named `Master Craftsman’ by the British Society of Scientific Glassblowers in 1977 and was a founding member of the Scottish Glass Society.
Mr Young began work as an apprentice glassmaker aged 16 learning the technical skills to create scientific glassware and working for firms which supplied scientific instruments. He later moved to work for Loughborough University before returning to his native Scotland to take up a post at the newly opened Stirling University in 1967.
He worked for all the science departments there while also developing his own creative skills – setting up a home workshop and producing innovative glass gifts such as pigs with a half-penny sealed inside. With the help of his wife Bette, Mr Young began selling his gifts at craft fairs before leaving the university in 1979 to set up his own business – Village Glass in Bridge of Allan.
It was a great move – his glassmaking studio became a tourist attraction and his glassware was exported worldwide as well as proving popular among local buyers and tourists. As Mr Young became better known, large companies commissioned his work.
He designed bespoke glass pens to accompany bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue Label Whisky on its launch in 1990 and redesigned almost every spirit-safe bowl used in Scottish distilleries in 2000. He `retired’ in 2011 but that didn’t last long. A couple of years later, he returned to the working world to launch Angels’ Share Glass and its unique signature line of whisky-filled glass angels with his daughter Karen Somerville.
Since then the firm has gone from strength to strength – winning business awards and creating new products, handmade by Mr Young, including whisky water droppers.
In one of the citations which led to Mr Young’s MBE, fellow glassblower Paul Henny writes: “Tom has always been very innovative and is continually looking at new glass products – one of the most recent being the Angels’ Share, a glass angel, containing 25ml of Malt Whisky.
“Although Tom is now `semi-retired’, he is still at the forefront of a thriving glass business producing innovative designs and employing and range of people with a variety of skills including marketing, administration and, more importantly, glassblowing.”
His daughter Karen said: “The whole family is so proud of dad’s award and being honoured with an MBE is an amazing achievement.
“We’ve always known how special and talented he is and it’s wonderful to have that reflected in this prestigious honour.”
Source: Angels’ Share Glass.
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