Coachlines - September 2022

27.09.22 Senior Warden Bettine Evans

Election Court, installation and service of thanksgiving 2022

Well, what a thoroughly delightful evening. The Court assembled at 17.00 hours with the addition of spectators at the rear of the ‘Court room’, something that is unique to the Election Court. The Court meeting was initially led by the retiring Master, Sarah Sillars OBE with her usual expertise.

Sarah proceeded with the ceremony of seeking the Court’s approval that Julian Paul Leach should be appointed as the new Master. This was readily given. Julian swore the oath, was clothed and proudly took the Master’s chair, where he took over the conduct of the rest of the Election Court business.

The Immediate Past Master was clothed in her Past Master’s gown and presented with her badge. Next the wardens were appointed to their new roles and David Barrett was sworn as the new Junior Warden. The new Honorary Chaplain, Father Tim Handley, the Rector of St James Garlickhythe, already known to most of us, was welcomed to the Court and sworn as a Freeman of the Company followed by two new Court Stewards Rakesh Sharma and Lyn Litchfield.

Also, four new Freemen were sworn to the Freedom of the Company and one new Liveryman, Trevor Cooper, was clothed. Once the formality of the election and installation of the various officers of the Court and Committees was done, the Master delivered a short address to the Court.

After just a touch more business the Court meeting was closed, after which the Master and Wardens, members of the Court and their guests, and those of the wider Livery in attendance, led by the Clerk and the Toastmaster bearing the Coachmakers’ Mace, repaired to St James for the Service of Thanksgiving. We were met at the church by the most wonderful music. The Organ Voluntary including Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (JS Bach) and as we processed down the aisle the choir sang Sir Hubert Parry’s, I Was Glad. Our new Master had arranged a choir and instrumentalists from The London Choral Sinfonia, conducted by Michael Waldron. The organist was James Orford. And oh, what beautiful music we enjoyed throughout the whole wonderful service.

After the service we processed back to Tallow Chandlers with a spring in our steps. The sun was shining, we felt holy and extremely happy. A really jolly reception followed, fueled by Champagne. Everyone mingled merrily until the cry, “dinner is served” rang out and we all romped up to the dining room to enjoy a meal of gargantuan proportions.

The Master rose to propose the loyal toast, chairs shuffled as every person stood and raised their glass, followed by toasts to the Royal Family, The Lord Mayor and the City Corporation. The newest Steward, Rakesh Sharma, then delivered a highly amusing speech thoroughly roasting the Master and Wardens, dwelling on all our many shortcomings (we shall not forget) before proposing a toast to the Master and Wardens.

The Master then rose, welcomed our new Honorary Chaplain, the new Stewards and Freemen and our latest new fully clothed Liveryman. He then proceeded to deliver a most amusing and interesting talk about his love of cars, and his escapades when he was a young man. He was almost a chartered accountant but missed it by a whisker. Nevertheless, he joined an accountancy practice until his uncle recruited him into the family business from which time he has never looked back. His family has imbued him with a love of exotic cars, Jaguars, Bentleys, Rolls Royce and the like so it was inevitable that a friend would invite him to a Livery dinner. He enjoyed it enormously, fortunate really, as said friend had already put his name forward to the Membership Committee as a potential member. So, Julian became a member and after a short time was asked to “help out” on the Livery Committee, and the rest is history.

The Master’s Election Dinner Speech can be found here. The Master then proposed a toast to our guests. The Immediate Past Master, Sarah Sillars OBE rose to firstly thank the retiring Honorary Chaplain, Ray Pentland CBE, her two Consorts, the Clerk and Assistant Clerk, the members of the Court, her Wardens, the committee chairs and all those members of the Livery who helped and supported her throughout her year in office; she also extended a warm welcome to our new Honorary Chaplain, Father Tim Handley. IPM Sarah spoke of the pleasure she had enjoyed throughout her year as Master and wished the new Master and Wardens happiness and success in the coming Livery year. She closed by proposing a toast to the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers.

All photographs of the Installation, the Installation Church Service and the Installation Reception and Dinner can be viewed at