Master's Blog

From the Master Geoff Hughes

Welcome to my Master’s Blog on the new website of the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales. I will be using this page to report on a monthly basis to Liverymen on Livery events and also to draw attention to the upcoming programme of the Court and Company.

MaY 2019

31st May

Welcome to the latest blog as I near the final third of my year in Office as Master, a year which has, so far, been eventful and enjoyable.
On 30th April we were entertained to a lecture by well known author Diana Preston at Howells’ School, Llandaff. An audience of about 80 people including Liverymen, guests and special guests from the Captain Scott Society were enthralled by the dramatic story of Captain Robert Falcon Scott CVO, RN who set sail from Cardiff on his famous and, tragically, final expedition to the South Pole. The lecture was followed by an excellent hot buffet supper and musical entertainment was provided by former WLCoW Award winner Iestyn Griffiths.
Sue and I attended the Service of Celebration for the life of Liveryman David Glynn-Jones at Holy Trinity Church, Guilford on 2nd May. Liveryman Huw Wynne-Griffiths and his wife, Helen were also present in a well attended, representative congregation.
On 9th–12th May 32 intrepid Liverymen and guests enjoyed the Master’s Away Weekend in Bruges. We travelled on Edwards’ Red Dragon Coach used by the Welsh Rugby and Football teams and stayed at the Navarro Hotel which was excellent. The programme included a superbly entertaining guided tour of a famous brewery, a visit to several war cemeteries, including the grave of Hedd Wyn and the Welsh Memorial, followed by attendance at the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate in Ypres where we laid a poppy wreath on behalf of The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales. I was privileged and moved to be asked to give the Exhortation during the Ceremony. Finally, we visited the Diamond Museum where we had a fascinating Demonstration before concluding the weekend in Bruges with a most enjoyable group Dinner in the Hotel.
Sir Gary Hickinbottom, Master of The Worshipful Livery Company of Arbitrators had extended an invitation to any of our Liverymen who wished to attend their Charter Commemorative Banquet at the Mansion House in London on 20th May. Our Company was well represented by Sue and I and 10 Liverymen and guests. We all received a warm welcome in the toast to Visitors.
Sue and I were invited to HMS Dragon Auxiliary Wardroom Mess Dinner at Vale Resort Hotel on 23rd May to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of HMS Dragon, one of our affiliated Royal Navy ships. The guest speaker was Lt Cdr Richard Attwater from Dragon and he was accompanied by three other officers who each gave a description of their work on board. It was good to meet with members of the Wardroom some of who are also members of our Livery Company during an excellent evening.
On 30th May Sue and I attended the Annual Banquet of the Worshipful Livery Company of Actuaries at the Mansion House as guests of Liveryman Huw Wynne-Griffiths, a Past Master of that Company. It was a superb evening in the Company of the Lord Mayor of London Peter Estlin and Sheriff Elizabeth Green. Sir John Timpson of high street fame was the guest speaker and spoke of the rehabilitation of offenders, something dear to my heart. His company has been employing ex- offenders for nearly 20 years and he rates them as some of his best employees.During the month I attended the Charity Committee meeting and the Public Relations Committee meeting. Both continue to work well in the interests of the Company. Members of the Awards Committee have been out and about embarking on their interviews of candidates for Awards this year.
All three Committees would welcome volunteers to join them in the important work they carry out for the Company.
Sadly, the month also saw the passing of Liveryman David Clark who had been a staunch supporter of our Company for many years. We offer our condolences to his family.

Geoff Hughes

April 2019

10th April

Welcome to this month’s Blog. You will see what a busy life a Master has during his year of office, being an ambassador for our Livery Company whilst enjoying meeting like-minded people in terms of promoting the skills and talent of young people through charitable work.
On 20th March I gave a talk on ”Women in Prison” to the Vale of Glamorgan National Trust in Cowbridge and was delighted to meet a number of our Liverymen who were present . Thanks for their support.
On 21st March I was part of a Deputation visiting Monmouth School for Girls and Monmouth School representing the Haberdashers Livery Company, whilst also showing the flag for the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales which I try to do at every opportunity !!
We hosted Treorchy Male Choir and 3 soloists (Livery Award winners) from St. John’s College Cardiff in a Concert at St. German’s Church on 23rd March, attended by over 180 people, including Liverymen. It was an amazing evening with outstanding performances as befits a world class Choir and drew much praise from those present, some of whom commented on the hairs on the back of their necks being raised during some of the emotive pieces and the wonderful acoustics in such a fine venue.
I attended both the Charity and Public Relations Committee meetings on 26th March. It is good to see that all our Committees, including the Awards Committee, are now working closely together with a more coherent approach.
On 28th March I and my Consort, Sue, attended the Lord Mayor of London’s Dinner for the Masters of the Livery Companies of London to meet with the Masters of Livery Companies outside London. This was held in the Mansion House in London and was very well attended by Masters from over 112 Livery Companies. The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales was honoured to be on the top table.
The following day 29th March we had been invited to the 77th Service of the United Guilds of the City of London at St Paul’s Cathedral which was a superb event as Liverymen all turned up in their traditional colourful robes, badges and, in some cases, hats. A feast for photographers outside, of which there were many!
It is essential that we take these opportunities to meet Liverymen from other Livery Companies and to raise our profile with them. There was considerable interest in the work that we are doing in promoting and encouraging the young people of Wales.
Lunch followed at Haberdashers’ Hall where I met with Liverymen from the Feltmakers’ and Saddlers’ Companies, both of whom have been touch since and wish to make further links with our Company.
On 30th March I was invited to represent our Livery Company at the Freedom of Monmouth Parade as the Captain and crew of HMS Monmouth exercised their right to march through the town accompanied by a band of the Royal Marines. The inspection was carried out by the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent and the salute taken by the Mayor of Monmouth. The newly appointed High Sheriff of Gwent was also in attendance and I was able to discuss the aims and objectives of our Livery Company with her.
Moving into April - I attended a finance meeting and chaired the General Purposes Committee on 2nd April and also attended the Awards Committee on 8th April. Next week, 16th April will see meetings of the Trustees or our Charitable Trust followed by a full meeting of Court.

Geoff Hughes

March 2019

7th March

Isn’t it amazing how things get so much busier after the short, dark days of December, January and February? Everyone seems to come out of hibernation. This year has been no different for me I’m pleased to say.
It started towards the end of February – at the last Court meeting when we arrived to find our usual room double booked which resulted in us moving to a completely different building.
Fortunately, most Court members were redirected to the new location and we started only 10 minutes late. Things got worse when were told we would have to leave early as the security man had to finish his shift. Worse still, we were then told we had to leave straight away!!
Skilful negotiation by our Beadle eventually led to a decision that we could stay after all. While all this was going on Court had continued its business unabashed as we installed the new clerk, a new Court Assistant, a new Steward and four new Liverymen. Not a bad evening’s work!
We have also seen the publication of our new newsletter “The Welsh Livery Bulletin” which gives a great deal of information to help keep members up to date with the various activities going on in the Company. Excellent work by the PRC Committee and Assistant Clerk.

On 4th March I represented the Company at a lunch with the Judges at the Old Bailey hosted by the Sheriff The Hon. Elizabeth Green as a part of “Wales in London Week”. This was very interesting for me as many years ago the cells and the docks were staffed by prison officers from Belmarsh prison where I was Governor and I had lunch with the Judges having visited my staff during the morning. Times have changed as all that custody work has been privatised and is now carried out by security firms.

The next day, 5th March, I and my wife Sue had been invited to a Reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate 50 years since the Investiture of Prince Charles as The Prince of Wales. The Queen and several members of the Royal Family were there and, it seemed, most of Wales, including the Prime Minister, First Minister for Wales, Lord Lieutenants, Archbishops, Bishops, pop stars, celebrities and representatives of charities and organisations associated with Prince Charles. He is, of course, an Honorary Royal Freeman of our Company. It was an excellent occasion!

During the evening I and the Clerk attended the Haberdashers’ Company City Livery and Affiliations Dinner at Haberdashers Hall where we were well received and were able to forge new friendships.

Towards the end of the month I will be representing the Company at a Dinner hosted by The Lord Mayor of London for Masters and Prime Wardens of the Livery Companies of the City of London at the Mansion House and, the next day, at the United Guilds Service at St Paul’s Cathedral.

A reminder that the Concert by Treorchy Male Choir is on 23rd March and tickets @ £15 are still available from the Assistant Clerk. Roy Noble was kind enough to mention the Concert on his radio programme on successive Sundays.

Also, we will soon be giving information about the Captain Scott lecture by Diana Preston on 30th April.

The Worshipful Company of Arbitrators will holding their Charter Commemorative Banquet at the Mansion House on 20th May and their Master has invited any, or all, of our Liverymen to attend. More details later.

Diary Date – 7th July Livery Jazz Garden Party at Hensol Castle

Geoff Hughes

February 2019

11th February

I am delighted to announce that Liveryman Christopher Dale has been appointed Clerk, after an open competition, to take over from Dr Claude Evans. My thanks go to Claude for his second period as Clerk and for overseeing much change within the Company.

On 21st February there will be a Film and Supper Evening at Howell’s School, Llandaff. This features an exclusive viewing of the film about the battle of Passchendaele entitled “Futility” with a presentation by Lieutenant Jonathan Riley who provided the commentary. A calling notice is out and tickets are still available from the Clerk.

Tickets are also on sale for the Concert by Treorchy Male Choir at St German’s Church, Roath on 23rd March where the acoustics are superb, such that the Choir has used it to make recordings in the past. Again, a calling notice has been issued and I encourage Liverymen to support this prestigious Concert by probably the best Male Choir in the world.

On 7th February I was pleased to be admitted to the Freedom of the City of London, albeit as a Haberdasher rather than through our Company!

The next day I represented our Company at a Court Lunch hosted by the Worshipful Livery Company of Arbitrators at the splendid Brewer’s Hall in London. Sixteen other Masters were present, amongst others, and the guest speaker was His Honour Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, Recorder of London.

I am looking forward to the next Court meeting on 19th February where we will be clothing two new Liverymen.

Silver Jubilee fundraising continues to bring in substantial donations which will be used to increase the number and scope of our very successful Awards programme for the benefit of the young people of Wales.

Liverymen who have not yet made a donation to this worthwhile cause are encouraged to do so soon, whether that be £10 or £500 – it all adds to the fund!

Geoff Hughes

January 2019

I trust that everyone is enjoying a Happy New Year after the festive period of Christmas.

13th December

My final engagements of 2018 had been attendance at the PRC Committee meeting followed by an excellent Christmas lunch at Whitchurch Golf Club and in the evening presenting music awards to two pupils at the Prize Giving Ceremony, St John’s College, Cardiff.

As is often the case January has been a relatively quiet month in terms of events although there is a lot of activity going on in the background.

8th January

On Tuesday 8th January I was pleased to represent our Livery Company at the Plaisterers‘, Masters’ and Clerks’ Dinner in the magnificent Plaisterers’ Hall in London.

The Plaisterers’ Company dates back to 1501 and is actively involved in the plastering trade, promoting the art and craft through its award schemes. The decoration of the Hall reflects the trade as it is decorated in the 18th century neo-classical style of Robert Adam with details reproduced from some of his original mouldings.

It was a pleasure to meet, again, the Master Timothy Cooke OBE who had been a guest at my Installation and to meet with Past Master Mike Jones who is also a member of our Livery Company and Heather Morley (nee Dix) another member of our Company and her husband Past Master Gary Morley. Heather and Gary had also attended my Installation last October.

I also met Dyfrig James Master of the Paviors Company who will be joining our Company in February.

10th January

Detailed planning for the annual programme of Livery Company activities continues as we look forward to the Concert by Treorchy Male Choir on 23rd March. I met with the Assistant Clerk and two Churchwardens at St German’s Church on 10th January to discuss arrangements. A very positive and constructive meeting.

Tickets will be available shortly. This will be an open event so I would encourage Liverymen to promote the event and to book tickets at their earliest convenience.

In addition, we are looking look forward with anticipation to the Lecture by Diana Preston on Scott of the Antarctic followed by Supper on 23rd April at Howell’s School, Llandaff. Further details in due course.

Geoff Hughes

November/ December 2018

November has proved to be a very busy month for me!

Remembrance Day 11th November
On Sunday 11 November I represented the Worshipful livery Company of Wales at The National Service of Remembrance at the National War Memorial in Cathays Cardiff. Lord Lieutenant Morfudd Meredith and The Lord Mayor of Cardiff Dianne Rees were in attendance and it was a pleasure to meet fellow Liveryman Chris Dale. It was a very moving service that marked 100 years since the end of the First World War.
I also attended my local service at Usk in the afternoon where wreaths were laid by Deputy Lieutenants Gerald (rugby international) and his wife Cilla Davies. David Davies MP for Monmouth also laid a wreath. Sue and my grandchildren Elin and Mali marched through Usk representing Guiding. My grandchildren in Chichester Olivia and Jack were also marching!

London Group Dinner 16th November
This dinner took place in The Army and Navy Club, Pall Mall on Friday November 16th. A good number of Liverymen and guests came from Wales to join with those who lived in London to hear Murray Craig, Clerk to the Chamberlain’s Court give an interesting speech about the Freedom of the City of London. There was also a guided tour of the art works in the club conducted by the very knowledgeable Major Paul Skelton-Stroud. All in all, it was a well organised and convivial dinner enjoyed by all present. Many thanks to Dr Keith Williams (London) for organising the event.

Lord Mayor of the City of London 22nd November
On Thursday November 22nd I was invited to a private dinner with the Lord Mayor of The City of London, Alderman Peter Estlin at Marco Pierre White’s Restaurant in Cardiff

Christmas Lunch at The Clink 25th November
As a former Governor of Cardiff Prison, it seemed appropriate to hold lunch at The Clink Restaurant, an excellent initiative for training serving prisoners in catering skills in preparation for release. Our Livery Company made an award this year to a “graduate” from The Clink who had made a successful transition from prison to an award-winning chef. Another candidate has been identified but, as yet, the name is a secret. The lunch was well attended by Liverymen and guests who enjoyed a fine Christmas lunch.

Hillside School 30th November
Together with newly joined Liveryman Henry Gilbert I visited Hillside Secure Unit to present a Livery Award of £250 and a Certificate to a young girl who had been identified by staff as making excellent progress and was hoping to go on to College and hopefully later, University.

North Wales Advent Service 2nd December
As in previous years John and Rosie Solbe hosted an excellent lunch in their beautiful home for 18 Liverymen and guests. We then went to St Asaph Cathedral for a Service of Advent Carols which everyone enjoyed.

“Christmas at the Mansion House” 7th December
We were invited to the Mansion House in Cardiff by the Lord Mayor Dianne Rees as she was hosting an event for Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity. We were entertained by the Rock Choir who sang a medley of songs and carols followed by mulled wine and mince pies. A very enjoyable event for a great charity.

Livery Service of Lessons and Carols 11th December
The annual Service of Lessons and Carols at St John the Baptist Church, Cardiff was held on 11th December. Master and Wardens, Liverymen and guests attended.
This was followed by dinner at the Cardiff and County Club in a thoroughly enjoyable atmosphere in keeping with our Livery traditions.

Sue and I would like to wish all Liverymen and their families a joyous Christmas and a successful New Year.

Future Events 2019
Saturday 23rd March 7.00pm
Concert by Treorchy Male Choir at St German’s Church, Roath, Cardiff
Tuesday 30th April 7.00pm
Lecture on Captain Scott of Antarctic fame by the author Diana Preston followed by buffet supper at Howell’s School, Llandaff
Thursday 9th – Sunday 12th May
Away weekend in Bruges
Sunday 7th July
Hensol Castle - Charity Jazz Garden Party

Geoff Hughes

November 2018

It was a great privilege and honour to have been installed as Master of the Worshipful Livery of Wales on October 20th and I will do all that I can to make this year as positive and rewarding as I can for the Company.
The previous week I had been invited by The Worcester Clothiers Company to attend their annual Banquet at The Guildhall in Worcester where we were entertained by the Master and Wardens of this ancient Company.
The same week I represented the Company at the Licencing of The Reverend Sarah Jones as Priest in Charge of our mother Church, St John the Baptist, Cardiff.
Sir Gary Hickinbottom was Guest speaker at my Installation and it was a pleasure for my wife, Sue, and I to be invited as his guests at his Installation as Master of The Worshipful Company of Arbitrators, with Lady Caroline, on Oct 22nd held in Middle Temple, London where his Guest speaker was the barrister and television personality Robert Rinder (Judge Rinder).
Following that we flew out to New York and came back to Southampton on the QM2 on November 1st. That evening I was invited to Dinner with The Lord Mayor of London, Charles Bowman, in his private apartment at The Mansion House along with other “regional” Masters to discuss plans for making closer
links with London Companies.
On November 6th I was made a Freeman of The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers at Haberdashers Hall in the City and had lunch with the Master and Court of Wardens.

Geoff Hughes