28.06.22 The Clerk

A night to remember at the Coachmakers’ annual Banquet


The Coachmakers’ banquet was held at the Guildhall on Wednesday 8th June 2022.

The event was intended to pay tribute to those who served in, and in support of, the Falklands Task Force in 1982 and judging by the images contained in this report it was a great success.

However, to encapsulate the thoughts of everyone present, this is what Rear Admiral John Lippiett CB MBE (the XO of HMS AMBUSCADE in 1982) thought of it when he wrote to his host Liveryman Peter Dias:

Dear Peter and Jacey,

We both hugely enjoyed meeting up with you again and attending the magnificent Company of Coachmakers’ Banquet. What a fabulous event in every respect. The dinner itself was really exceptional, we thought – all delicious, and not at all the usual charity tough chicken with drizzles and jus! And the wines were so generous and so good; the Post Horn Gallop was brilliant, the speeches and the choir were all excellent. It was altogether a truly memorable evening.

May I write a word or two about the importance of such an event, marking an important anniversary of a short war that did much to alter the standing of our nation, both internally within the armed forces and, perhaps more importantly, nationally and internationally. To gather together a fair number of the veterans (I never have accepted that I am a veteran!), noting their involvement in the campaign – and particularly to get three vets around your table – was very special indeed. That it turned out that I had previously served with both of them was remarkable! To find that Simon Henley served as a midshipman in a minesweeper I was commanding at the time, way back in 1976, was great. Then to find that he was in the Atlantic Conveyor 40 years ago was even more extraordinary, as it was the chaff we fired at the missiles coming directly for us that diverted them just a couple of miles from us, but then flew on and found his ship – with disastrous consequences. It was very good to meet Rachel who had been on my staff over 20 years ago and to meet Mark.

We really appreciated what a very considerable amount of hard work went into putting this Banquet on, especially with this complex number of really good interludes. Do please pass on our thanks and congratulations to all those who pulled it all together both beforehand and on the evening. The evening’s company was huge fun, and we thoroughly enjoyed our many conversations.

With all good wishes,

John

PS. It was so very special for me in family history terms to dine in Guildhall at the time of the Queen’s Platinum ceremonies.

My Great Grandfather was in the Hall in 1897 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Anniversary banquet. He was widely known as “The Big Drum Major”, (poem and music hall photos attached) and had led the London Scottish Regiment on the parade around London for the ceremonies. While at the Banquet, a telegram was passed to him announcing that his wife had given birth to a daughter. All the assembled guests were invited to stand and drink a toast – to my Grandmother!

However, if you want to know what it was like to serve in the South Atlantic in June of 1982, from the perspective of the XO of HMS PLYMOUTH, you should read the speech made during the Banquet by Rear Admiral Iain Henderson CB CBE DL by clicking here.

The core purpose of the event was for everyone to enjoy a splendid evening while remembering those who took part in the campaign. At the same time however, it was also intended to use the event to raise money in support of the Coachmakers’ charitable ethos. Once all the monies have been collected in and the bills paid, the total raised will be circa £40k. 50% of the proceeds from the evening will be donated to the Coachmakers’ Charitable Trust to support our industry, automotive, aerospace and coachmaking bursaries, scholarships and awards presented annually and 50% will be shared equally between the following charities:

  • The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity
  • Never Such Innocence
  • The Hornchurch and Upminster Sea Cadets
  • 452 Squadron Air Training Corps

Thank you to everyone who attended or supported this event; in the words of Sheriff Nick Lyons on the night: “this will be the stand-out event of my year.”

Job done.

If you wish to see all of the photographs taken during the banquet follow this link: https://philmccarthyphotography.smugmug.com/The-Worshipful-Company-of-Coachmakers-and-Harness-Makers