By kind permission of the Master and Wardens of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers, Freemen Entrepreneurs and their guests were warmly welcomed to Painters’ Hall on Thursday 24th November, 2016. This event, the most important of the annual programme of ceremonies and dinners, marks the anniversary of the launch of the Guild of Entrepreneurs (24th November, 2014), looks back at the year past, and ahead to the new Guild Year, and its new Master.
The outgoing Master, Alderman Sir Paul Judge, presided over the admission of 10 new members – welcoming Lesley-Anne Alexander CBE, Deputy John Chapman CC, John Davies, Jenny Garrett, Jon Hammond, Alison Hook, Jérôme de Lavenère Lussan, The Reverend Bertrand Olivier, Andrew Pullman and Jonathan Sweet as Freemen Entrepreneurs.
The Master invited the Chaplain (and now Freeman), Bertrand Olivier, to dedicate the Dan Doherty Memorial Bell, which was on display to the Guild’s Freemen and guests for the first time. His cheerful reflections called to mind the vibrancy and sonorousness of the late Master, and promised fulfilment of the Court’s wish that the bell be rung annually in perpetuity as a memorial to the Guild’s inspirational Founder.
The second of Sir Paul’s two commemorative duties was to unveil a portrait of the late Master. The Guild was privileged to welcome as its guest the artist Mario AC Della Casa, and there was joyous applause at the splendid artwork – the artist having so capably represented the late Master in his prime.
Sir Paul’s final act as Master was to review the huge successes of the past year, and then to declaim the results of July’s Election Court.
The Master heard the oath of Ms Catherine Karen Jolly and installed her as Master Entrepreneur. There was uproarious applause as Kate, clothed in the bright blue and gold robes of Master, accepted the Master Entrepreneur’s badge of office and, in turn, invested Sir Paul as a perpetual Past Master and as Immediate Past Master for the year ensuing.
The new Master then confirmed Alderman Peter Hewitt as Senior Warden (Alderman Hewitt is currently serving his year of office as Master of the Worshipful Company of Woolman), and invested Mr Lee Robertson as Middle Warden.
Mr Rick Lowe, having been feted so deservedly for his work with the Guild’s Outreach & Education work by Sir Paul, then stood to swear his Warden’s Oath. There were chuckles as Rick adjusted his hairstyle for photographs as the Master invested him as Junior Warden.
A sparkling reception was then served before the Installation Dinner began in the magnificent surroundings of the Painters’ Livery Hall.
The Chaplain pronounced the florid and moving Blessing of the New Master, before saying Grace. The diners had much to be grateful for, for the meal was sumptuous and extensive, and the wines expressive and elegant. The Master, very much in her stride, bade the assembly join her in the sharing of a Loving Cup, and, to the earnest pianist’s medley of familiar tunes, the revered (and always amusing) passing of the cup was enacted around the room
The inaugural ringing of the Dan Doherty Memorial Bell fell to his husband, Court Assistant Neil Fullbrook, who stood and boldly sounded the brightly polished bell. The silence of commemoration broke spontaneously as the late Master’s friends and fellow Freemen stood in ovation to his memory. The applause was joyous and lengthy, after which the company resumed their seats to cheerfully welcome the Guild’s official guests.
The Junior Warden introduced the Master Carmen, Marsha Rae Ratcliff, accompanied by her Clerk, Walter Gill; Vice Admiral Duncan Potts, the Director-General of the UK Defence Academy; and artist Mario AC Della Casa. The Junior Warden also thanked and welcomed the Chaplain, guests representing sponsors the London Capital Club and Fox Kalimaski Crossing, and Freeman Jon Hammond, who would be responding to the new Master’s speech.
In a wide-ranging and inspirational address, the new Master paid fond tribute to her two immediate predecessors, before setting out her vision for the Guild as a galvanizing force in Entrepreneurship as both an academic and professional discipline, and the practical roles that Freemen of the Guild can now take to support that vision. Her remarks were very enthusiastically received by the Freemen and guests.
The final words of the evening belonged to one of the Guild’s newest Freemen, Jon Hammond, who in a brief and entertaining speech pledged support to Kate, and to the Guild on behalf of the Freemen and guests. The whole room stood to a rousing toast to the Guild of Entrepreneurs.
The evening was a magnificent occasion of celebration and commemoration, and the sense of optimism and anticipation for the ensuing year is justifiably high.
All images have kindly been provided by Jonathan Cherry