Openreach engineers recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Key workers receive MBEs for roles in lockdown

Openreach today welcomes news that two engineers who went beyond the call of duty during the Covid-19 lockdown have been recognised in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Scott McPartlin camped out on the Inner Hebridean island of Coll to restore service to a vulnerable remote resident who was shielding, while Pete Martin used innovative techniques and his years of experience to keep NHS staff and vulnerable people connected. Both key workers are awarded the MBE - Member of the Order of the British Empire.

Customer service engineer Scott, 46, from Rutherglen, Glasgow, was nicknamed Openreach’s Bear Grylls after he camped out on Coll for three days between ferries as no accommodation was available due to lockdown restrictions. He faced a three-mile hike over a Hebridean beach, carrying his tools during a heatwave, to reach one remote household who needed connections restored. He also answered a late-night emergency callout from the local GP surgery – and made a series of return trips to improve broadband connections for islanders.

Scott said: “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.”

Clerk of works Pete, 53, from Rockland All Saints in Norfolk, has worked for Openreach for nearly 23 years and is known as an engineer who goes above and beyond the call of duty every day. The Mr FixIt of the company’s Chief Engineer crack squad, he has passionately supported Openreach’s drive to connect customers during these unprecedented times with his unparalleled knowledge, expertise and commitment.

Pete has kept everyone from the Queen to entire local communities connected – from working through the night to get a line restored at Sandringham to building a full fibre network for residents of Sudbrook, Lincolnshire, who struggled to work from home due to slow speeds. Despite his demanding workload, he’s also been testing new products and tools to speed up fibre build, as well as coaching young colleagues.

Pete said: “It’s unbelievable to be fair – I wasn’t expecting this at all. It’s not just me – I work with a small team dealing with urgent issues all over the country. We are just doing what we should be doing – helping different people across the nation to stay connected. 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.”

Openreach CEO Clive Selley said: “Pete and Scott are exceptional engineers who sum up everything that’s best about Openreach. They share a cast-iron reputation for always going the extra mile and always being ready to help anyone. 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.

“Every engineer who’s played a part in this mammoth effort are heroes and heroines in our eyes. We’re very proud of each and every one of them.”

The Queen’s Birthday Honours recognise the achievements and service of people across the UK, from all walks of life. The announcement of this year’s Birthday Honours was postponed from June due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Hundreds of people were today honoured in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for their contributions tackling the virus on the frontline and in their communities. 

As designated key workers, Openreach engineers were at work throughout lockdown, supporting critical national infrastructure including NHS facilities, surgeries and new hospitals, pharmacies, emergency services, food distribution outlets, vulnerable customers and those without service. Work also continued on full fibre network upgrades, in line with government guidance, to support economic recovery.