Past Master Ray Leigh MBE has been honoured with a long service award to celebrate 50 years of membership and support of The Furniture Makers’ Company.

Ray has been a member of the Company since 1970 and was Master from 1995-1996. Ray worked for the Gordon Russell Company from 1951 and was instrumental in setting up the Gordon Russell Trust which led to the creation of the Gordon Russell Design Museum which opened in Broadway in 2008.

In addition, he has provided outstanding support to students at Rycotewood Furniture Centre involved with the very successful Gordon Russell Project, which has been run in conjunction with William Hands and the Company for many years.

His contribution to the Gordon Russell Company and to furniture design is documented in several self-authored books, his last book, titled A Change of Direction, was published in 2018. Ray was also awarded an MBE for Services to Design and Industry.

Jean Leigh, Master David Woodward and Past Master Ray Leigh

Honouring Ray’s landmark service, David Woodward, Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, surprised Ray with a visit at his home where the Master presented him with a commemorative wooden box, which was made by Rycotewood student Neil McRory. The inside of the box is inscribed with the following: 

Raymond Hugh Leigh MBE, AA Dip, RIBA Hon FRCA

In recognition of his outstanding service as Liveryman and Past Master of The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers 1970 – 2020.

The Master was joined by Past Masters Margaret Miller and Tony Smart MBE at the presentation, which took place on 20 July.

The Master said: “Jean, Ray’s wife, laid on a superb lunch and they both made us feel very welcome. Ray was unaware of the reason for our visit and when I presented the box to him, he was visibly moved in fact overwhelmed. All in all, this was for me one of the best day of my tenure so far.”

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