Coachlines - February 2024

28.02.24 Assistant Lyn Litchfield

Editor’s letter February 2024

Dear readers,

Happy Chinese New Year! It’s the Year of the Dragon. Amongst 12 Zodiac animals in the Chinese horoscope, the dragon is the only mythical creature. People have mixed feelings towards it, many believe it’s a year of uncertainty, instability and significant changes, and looking at the world around us, perhaps it’s not too far from the truth.

24th Feb 2024 marked the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. You will read from Clerk’s notes about the Egyptian and Sudanese Wars of 1882 and 1884-1885 – we have never really been too far away from war and conflict throughout history, it seems to be our destiny.

The desire for prosperity and the appetite for growth on one hand encourages globalization, ensures our continuous development, and on the other brings unavoidable conflicts and imbalance amongst diverse cultures, religions and different interest groups.

Looking back through the Coachmakers’ 347-year history, no doubt it’s the overwhelming commonalities, shared values, expertise and passion towards our trades which has kept us together and moving forward.

In this  month’s Editor’s letter, I am determined to not talk about the weather. Master told you in her message how her Barbour mackintosh has saved her from being soaked while carrying out diligently her Masterly duty. I thought I should not steal Master’s thunder.

Making reference of the weather is one of the key characteristics of Britishness, and I would rank that special British sense of humour in second. In this edition’s ‘Meet the Team’ article, Steward Neil Sheath made a bold move drawing our attention to the Aerospace Awards Sub-Committee he chairs by highlighting his “first Japanese wife of more than 27 years”, and their family ethos of raising children not only bilingually but also multiculturally. I was intrigued and curious, so I emailed him after reading his submission and asked, by any chance there was a typo, you meant your current wife instead of your first wife, right?

There you go! Who was in favour of electing me as your Communications Chief? Perhaps knowing what you know now, you’d like to have a recount of the votes (No, let’s not go there now. We will hear a lot about this subject this coming November).

Neil is courageous and dedicated. He told me that he intentionally made his article more personal, because he strongly believes people talk to people, not to committees. I command you to seek out his piece about the Aerospace Awards Sub-Committee and if you share his (and my) beliefs, please help to prove us right.

Assistant and Chair of the Automotive Charity Sub-Committee, Giles Taylor, has also written a piece to tell us about the two bursaries it awarded to a number of talented young design students.

If you want to see living proof of how instrumental and life-changing our charitable pursuits have been, you can read the incredible story of a young man who is good at fixing most things, especially light aircraft. If you happen to have one in your garage, he could be your man to bring it back to the sky. I’m not joking, that’s Freeman Patryk Nelkowski’s promise.

As our 350th charter anniversary is fast approaching, you probably noticed that all Committees and Sub-Committees, our Master, Clerk, and all Court Wardens are geared up to accelerate the fundraising endeavours. You can read in this edition many references to various activities for charitable pursuits. My dear friend and predecessor, Hon. Assistant Lesley Upham, is the one who orchestrates the overall communications about our fundraising initiative. Following her lead, we will all be kinder and wiser, though maybe also a bit more out of pocket, but that’s just a minor detail compared to the big picture.

IPM Julian Leach tells us about his epic trip to Galapagos after being chased by me for the last two months – I have no illusion about my ability to persuade. There is no doubt he finally found time to write this fascinating travel journal just to get me off his back for good. All future Masters and IPMs are warned.

What would my Captain, Assistant Graeme Hunt, say, if I didn’t mention the word ‘golf’ in the Editor’s letter? For those of you who missed one of my Editor’s letters in an earlier Coachlines, I would confess again that I am a bit golf mad. Just a tiny bit. The year 2024 presents an exciting series of Livery Golf fixtures, and we encourage all golfers in our Company to step forward and actively participate in these tournaments.

Finally, since I mention earlier Coachlines, I’m delighted to announce we have made a significant investment in the website to make it easier to view previous issues. You can now click on the search bar at the top of the page and a dropdown window will magically appear.

Please don’t take my word for it.

Happy surfing!

Yours, Lyn