Coachlines - November 2023

27.11.23 Assistant Rakesh Sharma

Meet the Team – the Membership Committee

The Membership Committee, known as MemCom, is the first contact that most candidate Freemen have with the Livery. It serves you, the wider Livery, in finding potential candidates and administering their progress from candidate to Freeman. Without new members to our Livery it would eventually cease to exist: the majority of the funding to run the Livery comes from the one-off fines and annual dues.

The Charity Fund is entirely separate to the running of the Livery and the money in that fund can only be used for charitable purposes. Currently there are three ex officio members of the committee and seven ordinary members. The ex officio members are; The Master, The Junior Warden and The Clerk. The ordinary members of the committee are Liveryman Peter Ruddock (Vice Chair), Court Assistant Mark Garnier MP, Liverymen David Pitchforth and John Boyes and Freemen Philippa Napier Green and Patryk Nelkowski. Finally last is yours truly Assistant Rakesh Sharma as Chair of MemCom.

Your MemCom is tasked by the Court to recruit 45 new Freemen every year for the next few years so that we can grow to reach a membership of 500. The stretch target is 50 per year. Why do we need to grow our membership? Well it’s simple maths. If the fines and annual fees pay for the Livery then as we are in an inflationary phase costs are rising very fast and to control that feeding into the annual fee then quite simply the number of Freemen and Liverymen must increase.

As you can imagine recruiting 45 new Freemen every year is quite a challenge and our address books take us only so far. That is why we rely on you the Livery to help us by nominating your family, friends and colleagues. The committee operates in three sectors (our foundation industry coachmaking and our adopted industries of automotive and aerospace) led by sector champions to co-ordinate the nominating process.

Coachmaking is led by Junior Warden Mark Broadbent, Automotive Motorsport by Liveryman David Pitchforth and Aerospace by Liveryman Peter Ruddock. We still have vacancies for Automotive Engineering and Retail. So if you are able to share some time serving your Livery come forward, you will be very welcome in any of the sectors, not just the current champion vacancies. It is thoroughly enjoyable getting to know each other and meeting new candidates over dinner, usually at the Guildhall Private Dining Room.

The Livery strapline is ‘an active Livery investing in young people’. However, although we support young people in our industries with apprenticeships, awards and bursaries our approach has been a little confused and dysfunctional with several routes to entry all with different costs and benefits. In the previous Livery year The Master, Wardens and Committee Chairs presented a paper, approved by the Court, to harmonise these schemes into a single under 35 entry limited up to a total of 25 or 5% of the membership, whichever is the larger. These U35 Freemen represent the future of the Livery and we have also implemented a mentor scheme for the U35s as well as award winners – better fulfilling the streamline of the Livery which is where we started this paragraph.

Your Memcom continues to debate how being a Freeman or Liveryman can provide added value beyond fellowship and events. Watch this space as we hone in on some ideas. My thanks go to all for their constant nomination support but I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised to hear me once again ask everyone to shake their address books and seek out appropriate people to join one of the best Livery Companies in the City of London!

Please get in touch with the Chair of the Membership Committee, Assistant Rakesh Sharma at