Coachlines - November 2023

27.11.23 Freeman David Barzilay

A letter from the Editor

Dear readers,

It’s that time of year as we approach Christmas that we think of family and friends and getting together to celebrate. As I sit writing to you from Hertfordshire, the autumn colours are still stunning but starting to fade as we celebrated our first frost of the winter.

Brought up in London and not far from the City, it was and still is a very special time and for me always starts with the Lord Mayor’s Show which I have been involved with professionally for many years, working with Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin and indeed the Royal Navy.

It’s one of those events that brings Londoners and their families together with visitors and tourists, for a very special day that celebrates everything about the Square Mile, its industry and commerce and of course its Livery Companies.

This year was even more special for us. For the first time for many years the Coachmakers celebrated the event by having a coach and four in the parade. Not only that but the coach is owned by our Master Bettine Evans who was accompanied by some 34 Liverymen. They did it in style.

Unfortunately, I was unable to be there but watched on television and afterwards had first-hand accounts from pageant Master Dominic Reid who has become a friend over the many years of getting up at 4am and marshalling cars of various marques and ages.

Dominic was thrilled to see the Master Coachmaker’s coach and four and reported that a total of 11 carriages took part including the Lord Mayor’s coach. A picture of this is now to be our Christmas card. This I believe was our editor’s idea.

I am delighted to be her deputy and we will take it in turns to write the editor’s letter every month. I thought that I should give you some details about me so that you know that I am marginally media savvy and have some writing experience!

Before entering the dizzy world of PR and motoring I started by writing odd articles for local papers. One morning I found myself banging on the door of the Ferrari News Agency in Bexley, Kent, then owned by the Night News Editor of the Daily Mirror, Dan Ferrari, who that morning found himself without any reporters.

The man himself came to the door and asked what I wanted. Politely I told him that I was an aspiring journalist who wanted a job. He commented: “Well you’re no use to me I need people with experience,” and shut the door. I walked back down the steps and was halfway down the drive when I decided to go back. His wife came to the door and said: “Oh it’s you. He is not going to like the fact that you are still here.” Dan expounded a few profanities, but his wife said: “Why don’t you give him a chance?” and that’s how I got my first journalistic job.

Dan covered Brands Hatch and I was allowed to write up the results, but not the story of the race to start with. I met many famous drivers, some of whom became lifelong friends and after 18 months with Dan, he persuaded the Kent and Sussex Courier Group to take me on as a trainee. Thanks to Dan and the Courier Group I didn’t look back, writing for many of the nationals, which I still do from time to time. I ended up as Northern Ireland Correspondent of the London Evening Standard covering ‘the troubles’ for more than eight years.

Then it was into PR with some of the time being spent looking after motoring and automotive clients and ultimately set up my own agency, which I still run.

As our Editor indicated last month, we intend to develop Coachlines so that it brings even more insight into what we are doing through a variety of news items and articles.

Of course, we can only do this if you provide us the ideas copy and photographs when appropriate. However, we are also considering a more active role in supporting events by, for instance, occasionally asking one of our committee members to act as a reporter at the event.

In terms of articles, this edition sees a cross section including items ranging from the advanced automotive engineering bursary, the adventures of an aerospace prize winner, to Berkshire’s new Lord Lieutenant, and much more.

Next month I will tell you how I found my own mail coach on eBay – don’t get excited, it’s only a model!

Wishing you all season’s greetings.