Coachlines - February 2022

24.02.22 The Master Sarah Sillars OBE

Master’s Message February 2022

If ever we needed inspiration from someone who has kept her word and delivered on her promise it is HM The Queen. At all our formal Coachmakers’ functions we toast the Queen, as we did at the Sir Michael Marshall tribute evening held earlier this month. To me, it is the very least we can do to show our respect for this remarkable woman who has given unstinting service to our country, and us all for 70 years no less. Now we wish her a speedy recovery from her brush with Covid. Sir Michael, like so many in the Livery, was an ardent royalist and was immensely proud to have been a DL, a Crown appointment, for Cambridgeshire.

In February 1952 Queen Elizabeth II made her declaration to the Privy Council in St James’s Palace saying:

“Your Royal Highnesses, my lords, ladies, and gentlemen: By the sudden death of my dear father I am called to assume the duties and responsibility of sovereignty. At this time of deep sorrow it is a profound consolation to me to be assured of the sympathy which you and all my peoples feel towards me, to my mother and my sister, and to the other members of my family. My father was our revered and beloved head, as he was of the wider family of his subjects: the grief which his loss brings is shared among us all. My heart is too full for me to say more to you today than that I shall always work, as my father did throughout his reign, to uphold constitutional government and to advance the happiness and prosperity of my peoples, spread as they are all the world over. I know that in my resolve to follow his shining example of service and devotion I shall be inspired by the loyalty and affection of those whose Queen I have been called to be, and by the counsel of their elected Parliaments. I pray that God will help me to discharge worthily this heavy task that has been laid upon me so early in my life.”

Our heritage and history of coachmaking and coach harness making and the roles it has played at times of national importance, happy or sad, is reflected in this photograph. Many of us are proud of this, whether we are in automotive, aerospace or coachmaking.

Black and white picture of Irish State Coach in procession

Irish State Coach, acquired by Queen Victoria 1853 (price £858 & 7 shillings plus £58 & 7 shillings for the heraldic work. Coachmaker – John Hutton & Sons)

On a personal level, I am delighted our Banquet at The Guildhall on 8th June 2022 falls immediately after the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend. There will be a celebratory mood across the country, a buoyant atmosphere of patriotism and respect and hopefully a good measure of gratitude for remarkable selfless service. It seems fitting that we will be paying tribute to those who gave service or supported the Falklands Taskforce of 1982 the following Wednesday.

As we step into March, my year as Master is already halfway through. One of the greatest pleasures thus far has been seeing so many of our Liveryman at Livery Committee events, social functions, meetings or at our formal dinners. I have also had the chance to get to know our committee members more – thank you to everyone who helps us further our achievement of living up to our strapline – an active Livery investing in young people.

This month’s podcast features Eric Wallbank, our Charity Committee Chair. Please do take the time to listen to Eric. Yes, of course, we need funds and donations to further our charitable giving and continue to increase our annual financial support. In reality though we also need time, commitment and experience, to help mentor, guide, and support young people in our core industries. If you can help in any way, or at any level, please do get in touch with Eric.

Next month we have an excellent line-up of events. I look forward to seeing many of you at either the Morgan Factory tour, our planned trip to our affiliated RAF unit, Brize Norton or at the Automotive Dinner. Linda Jackson, Brand CEO Peugeot has kindly accepted my invite to speak at the dinner and to help us celebrate the success of our award winners. If you haven’t already booked your ticket, do please come, and join us to celebrate our very talented automotive students.

With the promise of spring well and truly on the way, keep safe everyone.

Master Sarah Sillars OBE