Glassmaker Tom Young awarded MBE by Prince William

April 24, 2017

Glassmaker Tom Young awarded MBE by Prince William

Our talented glassmaker and co-founder Tom Young has been presented with an MBE by Prince William at Buckingham Palace.

Tom received the honour to mark his long service to the glassmaking industry.

He was named an MBE in the New Year Honours List and travelled to London last week, with his daughter Karen Somerville and son Stephen Young, to meet the Duke of Cambridge.

Tom was among several honours recipients whose outstanding achievements were recognised during the Investiture in the Palace Ballroom.

They included former Olympic Heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill who was made a Dame, actor Mark Rylance who was knighted and Victoria Beckham who was honoured with an OBE.

He said: “It was a wonderful experience and an amazing day which I will remember for the rest of my life.

“Prince William congratulated me and was asking about how a person becomes a glassblower and I was able to tell him a little about how I got started.

“I met lots of interesting people over the day and there were a few other Scottish folk wearing their kilts which was lovely.

“It was a very proud day for me and great to be there with my son and daughter.”

His daughter Karen said: “It was a superb day and Stephen and I were in the second row with a good view of dad and all the others getting their awards.

“I was so proud of him and it was fantastic to see him awarded this honour which is a remarkable and well deserved achievement.

“It was an emotional day for the whole family and I know my mum – who passed away earlier this year – would have been very proud.”

Tom, who has been working in glassmaking for 60 years, was surprised and delighted to be nominated for an MBE.

He 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 something I’ve 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.”

Tom was granted the honour in recognition of his services to the Glassmaking industry.

During 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.

He began work as an apprentice glassmaker aged 16 learning the technical skills to create scientific glassware and working for firms which supplied scientific instruments.

In 1967, he took up a post at Stirling University working for all its science departments while also developing his own creative skills - setting up a home workshop and producing unusual glass gifts.

With the help of his wife Bette, who died in January following a long illness, Tom began selling his creations at craft fairs before establishing his own business - Village Glass in Bridge of Allan.

His glassmaking studio became a tourist attraction and his glassware was exported worldwide.

And as he 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 officially `retired’ in 2011 before returning to work a few years later to launch Angels’ Share Glass – and its signature line of whisky-filled glass angels - with Karen.

Since then the firm has gone from strength to strength recently winning two awards – Best Family Business of the Year (Scotland) and Most Innovative Product (Scotland) – from the Federation of Small Businesses.