It was a day of some very mixed emotions; pride in what had been achieved in the year mixed with sadness as my time as Master was coming to an end.
In the Installation Court Meeting I addressed the Court and these are the words I spoke:
In her time as Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice said “People who end up as “first” actually don’t set up to be first. They set out to do something they love”.
How true that is for me. When I became a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers I had no idea that I would become the first Lady Master of the Company in its 603 years of recorded history. It has been an honour and a privilege to represent you.
My diary has recorded just under 150 engagements of all types during the year. For me, it was particularly poignant to attend the 100th Armistice Commemoration Service at St Pauls, not only to remember the Tylers and Bricklayers who had served our Country, but also my grandfathers neither of whom I ever knew but had fought in World War 1.
It was a privilege to meet some inspirational people such as Zinnia Young, the winner of the 2018 Youthbuild UK Award, who overcame a very difficult childhood to train and qualify as a painter and decorator and now helps other young people who are in the same situation as her. I am delighted that Youthbuild UK will be our Charity of the Year for the new Livery year and I hope that everyone will support this wonderful charity.
Through our support of the Royal Engineers I was delighted to attend the Cadet Open Day at RSME Chatham which the Company had sponsored, along with Court Assistant Ian Ogden. As part of the day the Cadets were challenged to undertake some bricklaying. I suspect that the Cadets learned that bricklaying was not as easy as originally thought, but at least they had a go. My thanks go to Ian for acting as Liaison Officer between the Tylers and Bricklayers and the Royal Engineers.
Having had a career in the construction industry it was inevitable that our crafts of tiling, bricklaying and roofing would feature in the year. I was delighted to present Liveryman Emma Simpson with a Master Heritage Bricklayer Award, and to take a group of Ts & Bs to Hampton Court Palace for our Charter Day to walk the roof and to see Emma’s work at first hand.
August saw bricklayer Lewis Greenwood from York College and wall and floor tiler Mark Scott from City of Glasgow College represent our crafts at the WorldSkills final in Kazan, Russia. They were both Awarded Medallions of Excellence with Mark achieving the highest mark ever for a UK tiler.
2018 was the 450th Anniversary of the presentation of our Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth 1, and following my Installation we celebrated the Anniversary with a Livery Dinner at the end of October and by presenting the portrait of our Clerk Robert Browne painted by Royal Academy artist Mason Chamberlin to the Guildhall Club on long term loan for the enjoyment of all.
At this point I should like to thank Silver Steward David Allen for all the work he undertook on behalf of the Company on the Anniversary.
Charitable giving forms an important part of our activities and I was delighted to be able to include a visit to Bursledon Brickworks Museum, one of our Craft Trust beneficiaries, in our visit to Hampshire. Our Charity of the year Red Balloon will benefit from a grant of £3000 which the Master Elect will present to Carrie Herbert at lunch this afternoon. My thanks go to Alan Dodd who has acted as Honorary Secretary of the Charities over the past year.
Over the course of the year I have had the opportunity of meeting and enjoying the company of the Civic Team along with Prime Wardens, Upper Bailiffs and Masters of the 110 Livery Companies of the City of London. It has been a pleasure to attend many events and to support the charitable works of the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs and several Livery Companies.
It was a particular honour to host a lunch for Past Master Tyler and Bricklayer Tom Hoffman who became Chief Commoner in April, and to present him with a commemorative gift.
In his year as Master, Tom Hoffman held an appeal to raise funds to support Presentees at Christ’s Hospital School. As a result of that appeal Company Apprentice Onyinye Udokporo completed her education at the school, has just achieved a Degree and is now working towards her Master’s before taking up her role at Deloittes. Yesterday, it was a real pleasure to witness Onyinye talk to Common Hall about the changes made to her life as a result of the Company’s help with her education at Christ’s.
Our second Presentee Kiyan Rahman began at Christ’s Hospital in September and Past Master Tom Rider and I met Kiyan a few days ago to present him with his Company Medallion. I am sure you will join me in wishing him every success in the years ahead, and thank you to Tom for all your work in securing a new Presentee.
It was a sad day when we had to attend a Memorial Service for Past Master John Wilson-Wright and I am pleased that Maureen will become a Companion of the Company later today.
During the course of the year we have welcomed Diana Christopher as a Companion along with 7 new Freemen and elevated 10 to become Liverymen, bringing our membership to 203.
As we come to the end of the Livery year, Malcolm and I will have many wonderful memories of the places and people we have met and we both would like to thank the Wardens, Deputy Masters, everyone on the Court, the Almoner,the Stewards and everyone in the Company for their support over the past twelve months.
For my part I should like to record my thanks to my Consort and husband Malcolm, who has been such a great support in the year. I could not have done this without him.
My final words of thanks are to our Learned Clerk John Brooks. Thank you for all your help, advice and support during the year. So much of your work goes unseen.
It just remains for me to wish our Master Elect Michel Saminaden and Maureen a wonderful year; I am sure you will both enjoy every minute.
Dear Reader, thank you for reading through my blogs over the past year. Now it is the turn of Master Michel Saminaden to take over the mantle of Master and I am sure you will continue to enjoy his regular reports on his activities.