The last Livery Dinner of the Master’s year was held at Vintners Hall, the spiritual home of the wine trade, on Thursday 7 September. The Hall was packed to capacity with Liverymen, Freemen, Court members and Guests, and the champagne reception was followed by an excellent five course meal.

Court assistant Professor John Schofield welcomed the principal guests Dr Peter Bonfield OBE and his wife Dawn Bonfield MBE, and other guests including the Master Pavior, Mr Miles Ashley and his wife Judy; the Master Broderer, Mr Roger Sanders and his wife Hermione; Mr Kelvin Jones of Forterra Ltd, and his wife Claire, sponsors of the Tylers and Bricklayers newsletter last year; and Mrs Sue Smith and her husband Sean, who print all of the Company’s literature, including the White book. He also introduced new liveryman Mr Keith Aldis, and new Freeman, Mr Bob Caile.

The Master introduced his principal guests, Dr Peter Bonfield OBE and his wife Mrs Dawn Bonfield MBE. Peter is an executive director of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and is soon to be the deputy President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He was awarded an OBE in 2012 for services to research and innovation for the built environment. Dawn has recently been appointed as a Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor at Aston University. She is also the President and Chief Executive of the Women’s Engineering Society, and Dawn was awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to diversity in engineering.

Peter spoke about his experiences of delivering the London Olympics building project and four independent reviews for Government. He gave an inside view as an expert advisor to the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister following the tragic Grenfell Tower disaster.

David Szymanski spoke about the honour and privilege of serving as Master, and related his pleasure at being able to meet so many people during his year including his recent visit to Royal Engineer cadets at summer camp. He thanked all members of the Company for their support, and also recognised the huge support given by his wife Hilary and the Clerk, John Brooks.

The evening was topped off by a very charming vocal finale with songs, old and new, which were much enjoyed by the assembled Company.

The Master has set a high bar for those that follow!

John Schofield 15 September 2017