Coachlines - November 2021

23.11.21 The Clerk

Back to business at the Aerospace Industry Dinner

The Aerospace Industry Livery Dinner was held on Thursday 11th November 2021 at Vintners’ Hall. This was the Coachmakers’ first full Livery Dinner since January 2020 and 137 attendees were there to celebrate the aerospace industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic had wreaked havoc with the programme of award winner selection for the various awards normally presented at the Aerospace Industry Dinner but despite this, several winners from 2020/21 were there to receive the awards they had won in the previous Livery Year and one winner from 2021/22 was present also.

In summary:


This award is made in memory of British aviation pioneer and engineer Captain Sir Geoffrey de Havilland OM CBE AFC RDI FRAeS whose Mosquito, among his many other designs, has been considered the most versatile warplane ever built. The scholarship also includes a contribution from the Sir David Arthur Marshall Trust and enables a young person displaying a keen interest in flying and vintage aviation in general to gain a Private Pilot’s Licence on a De Havilland Tiger Moth at the Cambridge Flying Group. The purpose of this scholarship, in addition to helping a young person to achieve an ambition that might otherwise not be possible, is to help support the preservation of vintage aviation and heritage aircraft skills.
Two awards were presented on the night: first the 2020 winner was Nicola Temple and the winner in 2021 was Andrea Troso.


This scholarship is awarded in memory of Honorary Air Commodore Victor Gauntlett, entrepreneurial businessman with a lifelong interest in vintage and classic cars, aircraft and our armed forces who, at his untimely death in 2003, was Master Coachmaker and destined to become Chairman of the Air League. The award was previously a flying scholarship and is currently awarded for heritage aviation maintenance skills preservation and development.
The winner for 2020 was Bridget Donaldson who was awarded the bursary to support her MSc studies at Oxford University in sustainable energy systems engineering.


The Coachmakers’ Person-of-the-Year Award is presented annually to a sailor, soldier or airman of either gender from each of the Company’s affiliated military units. The selection of each year’s winners is made by the individual units and the criteria on which it is based is that it should be awarded to the person who has made the most significant contribution to the unit during the previous year. Joining us at Vintners’ Hall were Chief Petty Officer (Air Engineering Technician) Stewart Bailey from Commando Helicopter Force and Flight Sergeant Jane Corban from RAF Brize Norton.


Our guest speaker was Allan Cooke CBE, a non-Executive Director and Chairman of WS Atkins from September 2009 until July 3rd 2017 when Atkins was acquired by SNC-Lavalin. He was Chairman of Helios Towers plc until March 2018 and is a chartered engineer with more than 40 years’ international experience in the automotive, aerospace and defence industries.

He was Chief Executive of Cobham PLC until the end of December 2009. Prior to this, he held senior roles at GEC- Marconi, BAE Systems and Hughes Aircraft. He was Deputy Chairman of Marshall of Cambridge (Holdings) Limited until 31st December 2015 and is a member of the operating executive board of JF Lehman & Company based in New York and a board member of AGI, NorthStar/WCS and Global Marine Group. Most recently Allan was Chairman of HS2 Ltd from 5th December 2018 until 31st July 2021 and is also Chairman of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult since March 2018.

Allan is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering where he has served as a Trustee and Vice President. He was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list in 2008 and received an Honorary Doctorate in Science from Cranfield University in 2016.

Allan’s address was wide ranging and majored on his role as chairman of the biggest infrastructure project in Europe – HS2. Allan called on his extensive aerospace and defence knowledge about handling major transformation, resonating with much of the work being undertaken across the aerospace industry. Love or hate HS2, Allan challenged perceptions, particularly around many of the COP26, environmental and ‘levelling up’ agenda. Never one to shy away from tackling difficult subjects, Allan gave everyone something to think about.

Allan’s passion for engineering was evident and his enthusiasm that young people should consider the opportunities which a career in this sector would provide was palpable.

In summary, Vintners’ Hall was a great place to hold the Company’s first “proper event” in over 20 months and apart from a few minor administrative hiccups you wouldn’t have thought that we’d ever been away..