Prince Charles presents QE Chairman of Governors with his MBE

Prince Charles has presented Queen Elizabeth's School's Chairman of Governors Barrie Martin with his MBE at an investiture at Buckingham Palace.

The MBE for services to education was announced in the 2014 New Year’s Honours List.

Just after returning from the ceremony, Mr Martin received a VIP invitation from Schools Minister Lord Nash to a special celebration for school governors at the House of Lords in April.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “I would like to extend my congratulations once again to Barrie Martin on his MBE. It is an award that is very richly deserved: he has been an inestimable asset to the School over many years and a source of support and wise counsel to three headmasters, including me. I was delighted to hear that he and his family had a splendid day together at the Palace and trust that he will also enjoy his forthcoming visit to the House of Lords.”

Mr Martin was characteristically modest after the investiture. His elder son, Piers Martin, said his father wished to thank the School because he feels the School has done a great deal for him.

""Mr Martin, who has been Chairman of both the Governing Body and of the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s (FQE) since 1999, spent the morning at Buckingham Palace with his wife, Perin, with Piers (OE 1987-1994) and with his younger son, Giles (OE 1992-1999).

Having driven into town, they were able to park in the Palace’s inner courtyards. During the medal presentation ceremony itself, Prince Charles spent quite a considerable period talking to each of the recipients, including Mr Martin, having clearly taken time to apprise himself of his details.

Mr Martin, who will be 80 in April, worked full-time in his own chartered surveyor’s practice, Martin Russell Jones, in Edgware until last spring. Having sold the firm, which looks after accommodation including almshouses and social housing for the visually handicapped, he now works there as a consultant.

""He has risen from humble beginnings. His father was a part-time jobbing builder who also worked as a policeman during World War II, a bus driver and a chauffeur, while his mother was a countrywoman from Dorset who remembered meeting Thomas Hardy in her youth.

Mr Martin had to spend a great deal of time in hospital between the ages of 10 and 14, which had a detrimental effect on his education. Leaving school at 16, he went to work in an estate agent’s and chartered surveyor’s office and began studying at night school. His perseverance earned its reward when he qualified as a chartered surveyor in 1958 at the age of 24.

As his sons grew up, he supported their schools, firstly becoming a governor at St Paul’s C of E Primary in Mill Hill, where he continues to serve both as a governor and PTA committee member, and then at QE in 1987 when Piers became a pupil.

In his letter of invitation to Mr Martin, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools Lord Nash wrote: “Raising the profile of governors and school governance is one of my top priorities…By celebrating your achievement I hope we will also be able to send a wider signal to governors across the country that the Government recognises and values them.”

The House of Lords celebration for those who have received a national award recently for their work as school governors takes place on Wednesday 2nd April.