Installation Dinner 2019
On Tuesday 26th November, 2019, the Freemen and guests of the Guild of Entrepreneurs gathered at Drapers’ Hall for the Installation Court and Dinner. The glittering Drawing Room, lit by enormous chandeliers and opulently decorated, provided an elegant setting for the Court. The Master Entrepreneurs, Hon. Gp Capt. Peter LR Hewitt JP, led his Wardens and Clerk into the room in procession for what was to be the final ceremonial duty of his year of office.
The Master heard the oath of Freeman Avi Lasarow, and invited him to take his seat formally on the Court to begin a five-year term as an Assistant, before ceremonially asking the Clerk if there were any applicants for the Freedom of the Guild of Entrepreneurs.
One by one, the entrepreneurial and philanthropic credentials of Charles Armstrong, David Barker, AnthanasiosLadopoulos, Oluwasheyi Lisk-Carew, Tony Matharu, Christine Nicholson, Luke Reed and Andrew Richardson were declaimed theatrically by the Clerk to the delight of the huge audience of Freemen, friends and families. The calibre of this cohort was remarkable, not just in terms of business successes, but in the applicants’ records of charitable giving and voluntary work. It was the Master’s pleasure to present each with their Freedom and welcome them to the Guild.
Mrs Alison Robertson, who had served as consort to the fourth Master, Lee Robertson, was then asked to stand to receive the Honorary Freedom in respect of her service to the governance and leadership of the Guild during 2017-18.
Mr Hewitt’s closing address referenced the remarkable statistics of his year of office – trebling the size of the Trust fund, doubling the number of beneficiaries, admitting almost 20 new Freemen, and adding almost as many names to the list of the Trust’s Principal Benefactors. In expressing his thanks to the Wardens and Court, Mr Hewitt presented (to the surprise of the recipients) framed certificates of appreciation to Judith Donovan CBE, Neil Fullbrook, Neil Partridge, Fiona Taylor and Ian Taylor who had completed their five-year terms on the Court.
The Master’s duties done, he confirmed the results of July’s Election Court, and the Senior Warden, Mr Richard Paul Lowe stood to be clothed in the Master’s robe. The Court heard Rick’s oath and applauded as, with some relief, he turned to present his predecessor with the Immediate Past Master’s badge.
Mr Hewitt’s duty done, he took his seat on the Court with Past Masters Lee Robertson and Kate Jolly.
The new Master then invested his Wardens, Lars Andersen and Judy Hadden, before hearing the oaths of the new Junior Warden, Mr Gary Dixon, and three new Court Assistants: Freeman Simon Fordham, Founder Freeman Colin Spiller and Founder Freeman Barnaby Wynter.
Mrs Fidelma Hewitt then stood, and, after a lengthy litany of her many successes and her support for the Guild’s charitable and fellowship projects, the Master admitted her as an Honorary Freeman and closed the Court.
A welcome drink followed, as a succession of guests were received by the new Master and Wardens, before the Beadle gavelled for dinner.
Dinner in the Drapers’ sumptuous Hall could not have been finer: an unctuous savoury mousse; thick, fragrant fillets of saffron poached halibut; and a delectible tarte tatin delighted the diners, as wine and conversation flowed long into the evening. Plates were cleared, grace was sung and gleaming silver loving cups were shared.
The Guild of Entrepreneurs’ short and poignant history was marked by the ringing of the Dan Doherty Memorial Bell, and a toast drunk to the Guild’s Founder & Master.
The new Junior Warden welcomed the guests, and the room was gavelled to order as the Master rose to speak.
Mr Lowe testified to the legacy of his predecessors, before saying a little of his own entrepreneurial journey – breaking free of what could have been a comfortable yet conventional career in enginnering, gaining experience in sales before setting out on his own path in licensing, manfacturing and retail. Rick paid tribute to many of those who had guided and inspired him, including his friend (and the evening’s principal guest) Professor Noel Fitzpatrick.
The new Master set out his threefold priorty for the year ahead – to increase membership, strengthen the events calendar and improve communications – supported by his Wardens and Court as the Guild continues its journey towards Livery.
His closing remarks described a bouyant near future, as an active, representative and relevant modern Livery Company of Entrepreneurs – a beacon of excellence for the City of London and beyond.
Professor Fitzpatrick replied on behalf of the guests, setting out in glorious detail his own entrepreneurial aspirations, his journey into veterinary medicine and his passion for collaboration across medical sciences.
The Freemen and their guests were then invited into the Court Dining Room for further refreshments and conversation, and there was terrific energy and optimism for an historic year ahead.
Notes: The Installation Court and Dinner is held annually on or around 24th November (the date of the first Installation and launch event in 2014). During this year’s event, a guest became unwell, and the Master is grateful to Lt Col. Mervyn Bassett and the Drapers’ Company staff for speedy and effective help. A precautionary trip to hospital was undertaken, and the guest recovered fully and adds her thanks to those of the Master.