25.04.22 The Master Sarah Sillars OBE

Master’s message April 2022

Hello and welcome to this month’s Master’s news

Your Livery, where are we heading in the next five years?

As a proud Livery, with a very clear strap line, “An active Livery investing in young people“ it can be useful, if not imperative to communicate what our headline plans and ambitions are for the forthcoming period. The fact that we will be celebrating the 350th anniversary of our charter in 2027 really focuses us on our aims and aspirations in the build up to this important milestone.

The recent Court meeting confirmed four very positive aiming points for the next five years. These are to:

  • Grow the Coachmakers’ Charitable Fund to £3 million by 2027, with a distribution policy of 7.5% of the total fund value per annum.
  • Grow the membership to 500.
  • Increase the participation and involvement of Liverymen and Freemen in the Company’s social, charitable and governance activities.
  • Increase the awareness and profile of the company both internally and with our affiliated industries and our charitable partners.

The Committee Chairmen, from our major committees leading Communication, Membership, Livery Events and Charity will be working to put detailed plans into place during the next six months or so. We will be delighted to share stories and news on how our plans progress. If you want to be involved please do let us know.

Coachlines’ latest podcast, which was recorded earlier this month, is a fascinating insight into one of automotive’s most respected car designers, Liveryman Ian Callum. Our resident host, Liveryman Chris Mann, has a particular knack with questions and the interview with Ian has resulted in a wealth of interesting material. Therefore, we have decided to produce a Coachlines Extra early next month to enable Chris to explore Ian’s reputation as one of the best known and highly regarded car designers of the modern era, with a global reputation and a raft of design classics on his CV.

In memory: It is always unwelcome news when we hear of the passing of one of our Liverymen, but to learn that Past Master Gerry Bunn CBE passed away in early April really was a very dark day for the Coachmakers. Only last month, in Coachlines, in anticipation of our 8th June Banquet Gerry had written an article on “No 10 Squadron Royal Air Force and the Falklands Conflict”. Throughout my time with the Coachmakers Gerry has been an unstinting supporter, mentor, enthusiastic fountain of knowledge and a thoroughly loyal and true servant to the Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers. His ability to enthuse new or potential Liveryman when Lesley Upham and I were running the Membership Committee was second to none. For many of us he has been so many things, not just Clerk or Past Master, but a special friend and colleague who will be sorely missed. Our deepest condolences to Patricia and the family.

At the United Guilds Service at St Paul’s

Out and about

The Livery calendar continues with a flourish. We have had some excellent events at both Coachmaker and City level in the past few weeks with many more to come. It was interesting to be assembled with more than 100 Livery Masters and senior City dignitaries for the Lord Mayor’s Masters and Consorts dinner at Mansion House. The Lord Mayor repeated his theme for the year, with ‘people and purpose’ being at the heart of his activity. He also encouraged Livery companies to be proud and communicate all the charitable and educational work they do, to further the City and its industries.

Continuing our visits to all our affiliated units I am delighted to report of a most enjoyable visit to our Sea Cadets Corps – Hornchurch and Upminster. The Clerk and I were keen to show our thanks and appreciation for their unstinting support at all our formal functions. We had no idea just how extensive the damage was to their building, caused by a leak. I’m delighted we will raise funds for them at the Banquet.

It was our turn to present the awards and rosettes at the London Harness Horse Parade this year. Huge effort had been made by so many of the entrants to showcase the carriages and horses. Alongside the equine entrants was also a rather lovely collection of vintage vehicles. A particular favourite for me was the police Morris Minor (panda car) owned by the very policeman who had used it when a serving officer. He found it for sale on the internet a few years ago and knew he had to have it back in his life.

And, if you have chance I hope to see you during the next few weeks if you are joining the events the Livery Committee and the Clerk have arranged. Next month we will further update or report on our visit to Brize Norton, our affiliated RAF Unit, a must-do trip to Fenix Carriages, the long awaited overseas trip to France fondly known as “Knightley Tours”, the IAM RoadSmart driving review session and the Prince Arthur Golf Cup.

With every good wish until next month.

Sarah Sillars OBE