Coachlines - June 2024

28.06.24 The Master Bettine Evans

Master’s message June 2024

Good day fellow Coachmakers. I do hope you are all well and enjoying this wonderful taste of summer. As usual, so much has happened since we last spoke. My husband and I managed to escape to Scotland for a few days after the Banquet where we enjoyed beautiful weather and relaxing ‘walks’ clambering up and down the local mountains.

Then back to the serious business of representing the Coachmakers’ Company at a variety of City events. In addition, the Livery Committee organised a wonderful trip to the Temple Gardens and the fascinating Temple Church led by Richard Robinson with other like-minded Liverymen.

Alderman Professor Michael Minelli, our Lord Mayor this year, organised the annual Livery Masters’ weekend in London to which we were all invited. Since we live near London and have two beloved dogs, my husband and I chose to drive in and out each day (and night) which, though rather exhausting, added a new dimension to the events. It really was a most enjoyable weekend.

We visited parts of London previously unknown to us, read the Magna Carta in the City Archives, dined in the Tower of London (retaining our heads afterwards) and enjoyed a sumptuous Banquet at the Guildhall. Sadly, we had to miss the Sunday events as I had arranged to present some well-deserved awards at The British Driving Society’s annual show at Windsor Great Park, though I was treated to a lovely ride on the winner’s carriage around the ring, which adequately compensated for the change of plan.

Back to reality on Monday 24th June for the Election of Sheriffs at The Guildhall. What a wonderful pageant that is though but it is very tempting to shout “Nay” when we are expected to say “Aye”.

Looking ahead, I approach the next three months with mixed feelings and huge sadness as my year draws to a close. I have enjoyed it so much; getting to know so many of you so much better, meeting you more informally, and feeling a part of all of the Livery, not just those areas with which I had formerly been connected. Huge sadness too that we are parting with our loyal, faithful, and beloved Clerk, Cdr Mark Leaning, who has managed our Company with such expertise for the past 12 years. And also to Lt Cdr Rachel Firth, our Assistant Clerk (or “real” Clerk as she is known among the leather Livery Clerks) who will be stepping down at the same time.

But eager anticipation too, that I shall have some spare time, and at last my house might cease to resemble a charity shop! I will be able to complete those tasks in my business that I have been deferring “until my year is over”.

And, most excitingly, we have a new Clerk, a lovely man, Lt Col Craig Hallatt, whom I, with the help of my worthy wardens and colleagues, hand-picked for you; he joins the Company on 1st July and Mark will work with him for a month to show him the ropes, school him in our peculiar ways and generally ensure that you and he will quickly form the excellent working relationship to which we have become accustomed during the past 12 years.

I do most sincerely hope that as many of you as possible will come to the Coachmaking (Summer) dinner on 11th July to meet Craig and share my last formal Coachmaker dinner with me.

Thank you all for your continued and continuing support of our great Livery.