Engineer who fixed phone line at Queen’s country retreat named MBE

An engineer who restored a phone line to the Queen’s country retreat has been made an MBE.

Pete Martin is named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list alongside fellow Openreach engineer Scott McPartlin, who camped out on a remote Scottish island to help a resident shielding during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Martin, 53, from Rockland All Saints in Norfolk, has worked for Openreach for nearly 23 years.

On the Friday before Christmas, he worked through the night to get a line restored to the stable block on the Sandringham estate.

His honour also recognises work to build a full fibre network for residents of Sudbrook, Lincolnshire, who struggled to work from home during the pandemic due to slow speeds.

He described his honour as “unbelievable”.

He added: “I’ve had to keep it a secret from everyone except my wife, so I’m looking forward to sharing this amazing recognition with the rest of the team.”

Mr McPartlin, 46, from Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, camped on Coll in the Inner Hebrides while working to restore services after a lightning strike.

His efforts involved a three-mile hike over a beach carrying his tools during a heatwave and fixing the phone line of one resident who was shielding.

He camped for three days between ferries as no accommodation was available due to lockdown restrictions.

Island of Coll
Island of Coll

Mr McPartlin said of being made an MBE: “I’m in total shock – I was lucky enough to get to go to Coll and I’ve now been mentioned in the House of Commons and recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, all for doing my job.

“This is for my mum, my daughter and all the engineers who’ve been out there working flat-out day in and day out, sometimes in very challenging circumstances, to keep everyone in contact and online.”

Openreach chief executive Clive Selley said: “Pete and Scott are exceptional engineers who sum up everything that’s best about Openreach.

“We’re delighted to see them recognised in today’s honours, representing all the key workers who’ve helped keep the UK connected at a time when it’s never been more important.”