Two honoured by Queen

Matthew puts finishing touches to his Sleepscape

Two local residents have gained awards in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours Denny Nicol has been awarded the BEM for services to the community and Matthew Burrows the MBE for services to the arts during the Covid-19 response.

Matthew Burrows who lives in Udimore is an artist who has exhibited internationally but more recently at the Vigo Gallery in London. At the start of the Covid-19 lock down he quickly realised that many artists would be deprived of their livelihoods unless they were able to sell their work and he had the idea of creating an online platform on which artists could show and sell their work and stay connected

He developed this using Instagram under the title Artists Support Pledge. This gave the  facility for artists to sign up, exhibit their works up to a maximum cost of £200 and find paying customers, with the conditional pledge that when an artist had sold £1,000 worth, that artist would buy someone else’s work and so become a patron. It was a simple and brilliant idea which encouraged and perpetuated generosity.

“Within two days of launching it went viral,” he told me, speaking from his studio at Udimore, near Rye. “Sales have now exceeded £6 million globally, and some 70,000 artists have participated on every continent except Antarctica.” Administering the project has kept him busy full time this last six months. His challenge now is to sustain the pledge for everyone while being able to fully resume his own creative practice.

Asked how he was informed about the award, he said that he had received an email from the Cabinet Office about three weeks before it was announced, enquiring whether he would accept the award. This well-deserved award is likely to be the quickest won MBE in recent years.

Image Credits: Jonathan Bassett .


  1. Hearty Congratulations to Denny Nicol on most richly deserved award of the MBE in recognition of her many years supporting those in our community in need of help – and especially the time she gave to driving patients to hospital appointments all over the area.


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