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The Master,Wardens, Court and Livery were delighted to welcome Dr Christine Rigden, Sheriff of the City of London and a Liveryman of the Company, to present the 2016 Craft Awards at Trinity House, London on the 7th March 2016.

Trinity House is a beautifully presented Hall dating from 1794 with unusually high natural light in every room, not normally associated with many City Livery Halls. Trinity House is the HQ of the Corporation of Trinity House, a unique maritime body dedicated to the safety of shipping and seafarers, with a history that can be traced back to the reign of Henry VIII, who issued their Royal Charter in 1514. The Corporation is still responsible for the management of lighthouses and other navigational aids throughout the coastline of England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar.

After a Champagne Reception and a most delightful luncheon with sumptuous wines and madeira for the 108 guests present The Master brought us to the business of the day. He introduced the Principal Guest, The Sheriff and paid tribute to her contribution to City Life and indeed the Tylers and Bricklayers Company. In her response Christine Rigden mentioned her passion for sailing and the reliance that all sailors had for the outstanding work of Trinity House.

The Master then introduced Jeff Fuller, Renter Warden and Chairman of the Craft Committee to describe the various Awards and outline how the various competitions had been held. To establish how the finalists had been chosen and to pay tribute to all the people involved in the Competitions, both via SkillBuild and with the Royal Engineers.

The first award, The E & R Fuller Award for Bricklaying went to Josh Hunter  of  Hull College and his tutor Andrew Bannister from the College. The winner had completed two panels of brickwork involving an equilateral Gothic arch with pillars and curves and a wall with protruding brickwork in an X and V pattern. All work was executed to an extremely high standard.

The second award, The Mason-Elliott Award for Roof Slating and Tiling was awarded to Donal Harkin of the Northern Ireland Roof Training Group. The same award was presented to Donal's elder brother three years ago, an acknowledgement of the quality of training in the family firm of Harkin Roofing  Ltd from Londonderry. Again two pieces of work, one in SIGA 39 Natural Slate with mitred hips and the other with ornate Sandtoft plain tiles adopting a pattern in contrasting coloured tiles to imitate a roof tiler engaged in the craft. Again the work was to a very high standard. His trainers were Geoffrey Parkinson and Gordon Penrose, a Company Liveryman, working with the NIRTG.

The third award, The Montgomery Award for Wall and Floor Tiling was awarded to Kieran Magee of Southern Regional College, Northern Ireland. The two work pieces involving three tasks, marking, setting out, material selection and including elaborate circular and raking cutting to produce two excellent examples of finished work. Kieran's Course Tutor was Paul Doran.

The fourth awards, The Stokes Royal Engineers Awards were awarded to Lance Corporal Charles Brunskill for the Class 1 entry and to Sapper Gareth Barton for the Class 2 entry. Unfortunately, L.C.Brunskill was not able to attend due to his current posting, but his award was received by his Senior Officer. Yet again both of these awards include setting out, bricklaying and block laying skills, concreting skills in both building and civil engineering. The winners produced work of an exceptionally high standard.

The fifth award, the Royal Engineers Army Cadet Force Award was presented to Sgt Michael Murdoch, Adult Volunteer of the Year, who had an amazing citation from his Commanding Officer culminating in " His dedication and long links to the Corps makes him an ideal candidate for this award".

The sixth award was for Cadet of the Year and this went to Cadet Sgt Keiran King. Part of the citation from his Commanding Officer read, "Sgt King has excelled at the detachment, he has gained 47 medals, which has placed him near the best achiever the detachment has ever seen, with still another 18 months to serve before he leaves. Sgt King not only works hard for the Detachment, he is committed to raising funds for the Army Benevolent Fund, through the units association with the ABF. A fine example to his peers of what can be achieved"

There was then a Special Award for Paul Doran from Southern Region College, Northern Ireland for his work in tutoring three successive finalists for the Mongomery Award for Wall & Floor Tiling.

The final awards were for Master Craftsman. They were Paul Doran for Wall & FloorTiling and Danny Marsham, our first Master Craftsman Bricklayer in modern times. These awards reflect the recent work of the Craft Committee in resurrecting the Master Craftsman Awards.