24.08.21 The Master Sarah Jane Adams-Diffey

The Master Coachmaker takes luncheon with the Wheelwrights

Pictured above: Joint Coachmakers’ apprentice and new Wheelwright Journey Man Tom Carroll with the Master Coachmaker

On a bright sunny summer’s day, I was delighted to join the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights as guest of the Master David Mortlock aboard HQS Wellington, the splendid floating ship of the Hon. Company of Master Mariners, writes The Master Sarah Jane Adams-Diffey.

Once invited on board having passed the COVID temperature test and confirmed that my lateral flow test taken in the morning was negative, I was whisked to the outside deck where the Champagne reception was in full swing. Other Masters were in attendance which included the Master Glover and Master Mariner, Les Chapman who resides on the fine naval sloop.

You have never seen so many happy, happy Liverymen, all free, not a mask among them and almost back to normal, and importantly all together enjoying one another’s company and camaraderie once again that the Livery companies are so well known for.

I was most honoured to be the Master’s guest and included on the top table. We were clapped into lunch with his other guests which was very special, as it will be the only time that will have happened for me during my year as Master.

Lunch was delicious and the company most interesting and thought provoking. I was delighted to be sat next to Lord Mountevans who had been a Prime Warden of the Wheelwrights and the Lord Mayor in 2015. He was good company and was very interested in the Coachmakers and how we were getting along.

The Master spoke from the heart about the company during lockdown as he had taken office last December just before the government told us that Christmas was cancelled. The guest speaker spoke passionately about traditional crafts and how these must be preserved. It touched a chord with our work this year on better recognising and supporting our heritage skills.

And finally, young Tom Carroll, the Coachmakers’ and Wheelwrights’ joint apprentice who made the fabulous Nib cart for the Lord Mayor’s Show, which ended up being a virtual show last November. Now in full employment as a working wheelwright, Tom was presented his Wheelwright’s Journey Man certificate which he accepted from the Master with great pride.

I was delighted and honoured to be photographed with him back out on deck as we enjoyed a stirrup cup together.

I truly felt our Coachmakers’ motto come to life at that moment – After the clouds, the sun!