Master's Report 2006-2007
A Master's year passes all too quickly! It is a year in which one learns a great deal about the City and the important role that the Livery Companies continue to play in the life of the City.
It has been a tremendous privilege and honour to be master of the Worshipful Company of Tax Advisers. It has been hard work and has inevitably involved a lot of travel to and from North Yorkshire . But the rewards have compensated one hundred-fold for all the effort involved, particularly in terms of friendships developed within the Company and in the wider Livery movement.
Altogether, I will have attended over 70 events as the Company's representative, including a range of civic events, lunches, dinners and an array of lectures on topics ranging from Jonathan Aitken's experiences while in prison, to the discovery of Viagra and the Chinese Ambassador's talk about the development of capitalism and democracy in China.
The Company has reached two important watersheds in the past few months. On 25 th June I, together with several other Court members and liverymen, was present at Guildhall to see Alderman and Past Master Ian Luder elected as one of the two Aldermanic Sheriffs, to take office on 28th September. Even more exciting was the announcement that he is the Court of Aldermen's choice as their candidate to be the Lord Mayor of the City of London from November 2008. Sheriff-elect Luder has the congratulations and very best wishes of the Company in these demanding roles and can be assured that we will give him and Lin our best support.
At the June meeting of the Court, approval was given to petition Her Majesty the Queen for the Grant of a Royal Charter for the Company. I am very grateful to our Deputy Master, Wardens and Clerk, and to Keith
Lawrey , the Honorary Foundation Clerk of the Guild of Educators, for their assistance to me in preparing the necessary documentation. It will be submitted very shortly and we are hopeful that the Grant will be made in 2008.
In June 2006, Past Master Tulloch, together with the then Master (Erica Stary), Upper Warden (Colin Reid) and Renter Warden (William Norris), generously presented the Company with a very fine and distinctive new Master's Badge. This badge has been universally admired at every event that I have attended in my year; it even caught the eye of Prince Philip at the Garden Party! Everyone instantly recognises the Master Tax Adviser! It has led directly to one other modern company commissioning new badges for its Master; and at least two others are giving it serious consideration. But we are still one step ahead of the other Companies. We now have a completely new set of badges for all our Past Masters, Wardens, Court Assistants, Clerk, Assistant Clerk and Chaplain, which mirror the theme of our Master's badge. I cannot thank enough the Past Masters, Court members, Clerk and Assistant Clerk for their generosity in making donations to meet the costs involved. In the matter of regalia, we are indeed the envy of our peers.
At the Installation Dinner in Haberdashers' Hall, it was a privilege to have as our principal guest the Master of one of the ‘Great 12' - the Master Grocer. At the Budget Banquet on board HQS Wellington, our principal guest, Lord Justice Kennedy, provided the wittiest and most entertaining speech that I have heard throughout my year. We were delighted that The Lord Mayor was able to attend our Civic Lunch once again which, this year, was held at Saddlers' Hall. During that lunch it was also my pleasure to accept a gift for HMS Bangor, to be passed on when next we entertain her captain. Our Court Dinner was held at Founders' Hall, which is now our regular venue for this annual event.
In addition to our formal programme, the Social Committee, chaired by the Renter Warden for 2007/8 Barbara Abraham, has provided a very active and well supported informal programme of events and visits. My wife Barbara and I thoroughly enjoyed leading the Master's week-end in York . We had organised a busy programme which included a boat trip down the Ouse with a pub dinner, a guided visit to York's Art Gallery and to Treasurer's House, a dinner at the 12th century Hall of the Merchant Taylors' of York and a tour of Harewood House. The weekend ended with
a buffet lunch at our home in Harrogate . Happily, we had reasonable weather; the only rain fell at night or while we were indoors!
It is a particular pleasure to be able to report that it has been a bumper year for new members thanks to the work of the membership committee, under Assistant Nick Goulding, and the continuing sterling efforts of so many existing liverymen and freemen. In my year as Master, the Court has approved the admission of 26 new Freemen and 6 Freemen have been clothed as Liverymen. A particular personal pleasure was to invite Sir Stephen Oliver to become an Honorary Freeman and our 200th member.
During the year we formed a new services affiliation, with 101 Squadron, Royal Air Force. Three of their officers and their spouses attended our Court Dinner. Assistant Homer, who was instrumental in establishing this link, and I were privileged to attend a dinner to mark the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the squadron. In early September, seven members of the Company spent an enjoyable day at RAF Brize Norton, including the use of the flight simulator to test their skills.
Sadly, we have not been able to do as much as we would have wished with our Royal Navy affiliate HMS Bangor. Although the ship is now based in Faslane, her Executive Officer was able to attend the Installation Dinner, but since then the exigencies of the service have prevented other contacts. Her Commanding Officer changed in February when Jon Holmes headed out to the Middle East where he is now in command of another minehunter, HMS Ramsey. In recognition of his enthusiasm for the link between the ship and the Company, Jon has been admitted as a Companion of the Company. We hope that we will be able to have greater contacts with HMS Bangor and her new CO, Iain Cull, in the coming year. The real power in a Livery Company rests with the Clerk! I have been very ably guided by our Clerk Paul Herbage. I have also been well advised, supported and assisted in many ways by the Deputy Master, Erica Stary, and by the three Wardens, William Norris, Richard Agutter and Nicholas Woolf, as well as by the Past Masters who between them possess well over a hundred years of experience of the livery movement. The Court and Committee members have done a tremendous amount to ensure the continuing growth and success of our Company. To them all I give my sincere thanks. To my wife Barbara I also offer grateful thanks for her support and her tolerance!
I wish William a very successful year as Master and I hope that he and Catherine will derive as much pleasure from his year in office as have Barbara and I.
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