Master's Page

The Master - Stuart Castledine

Dear Liverymen

It is a great honour for me to be Master of the Company for 2022/23. I follow in the footsteps of predecessors who have built up the reputation and fame of the Company over the last 29 years, none better than Immediate Past Master, Dr Kathy Seddon, who has acted with innovation and alacrity to organise a full range of events over the last year. The fellowship of the Company is active and Kathy has done a particularly outstanding job in building the Company’s links with the Livery fraternity in the City of London. The strength of this is demonstrated by the visit of the Lord Mayor of London to Cardiff in early April 2022 and the fact that he asked to meet with our Company as one of the main events during his visit.

The Company’s Royal Charter sets its objective as “to promote within Wales, education, science and fine arts.” It does this through its Awards programmes which, in 2021/2, saw over sixty people recognised for high levels of achievement. Many of these Awards include a monetary element, and despite the difficulties of making Awards during a period of pandemic lockdowns and disrupted plans, the hard work of the members of the Awards Committee managed to distribute almost £40,000 to winners.

We all have different reason for being proud Welsh Liverymen. It is the fellowship and fraternity of the organisation that I particularly love, the way we go about delivering our objective as well as the objective itself. We are a diverse group of individuals from different trades, professions, and educational backgrounds. Working together is both fun and educational in its own right – we can all continue to learn from each other, no matter that we have all “reached a level of attainment in our occupations that is such eminence or such seniority that we are capable of supervising the work of a trainee to a high standard”

During the coming year I hope that we will be able to further increase the fame and reputation of the Company. There are four areas that I would like to see us concentrating on:

Fellowship and Fraternity

The ability to meet face to face over the last two years has been limited and I would like to see us having more events where we can meet face to face. Some will be formal events like the Installation Banquet and fine dinners in London which we all enjoy, but equally importantly I would like to see us getting back together frequently in smaller local groups, where only 15-20 people will come to meet. In the near term we will be able to meet in London, West Wales and the Swansea areas. The Achievement Award winner, Dr Ami Jones will be giving her lecture in Abergavenny. A weekendaway in North Wales will take place in late September 2022. The Master’s weekend in Coventry between 10th to 12th June 2022 will be an ideal occassion to renew friendship with your fellow Liverymen from across the UK. Coventry is a city with a long history of Guilds going back to medieval times. The highlight of the weekend will be a Banquet in the recently restored St Mary’s Guildhall, dating from the 14th century. Have you booked yet?

Recognising Achievers

Our Awards winners are young people of Wales who have achieved high levels of academic success. But we also recognise the attainments of some who have not had the straightforward pathway of most and where their more modest achievements are the result of outstanding effort and a sign of significant future potential. We want to encourage and enable people at all levels to achievetheir full potential. The members of the Awards Committee spend considerable time searching out winner – you could join them and help both spread the workload and expend our reach.

Funding the Charitable Trust

The Company’s ability to continue its Awards programme is dependent on money being available. We are lucky to have an endowment fund which helps even out the variation in fund raising between one year and the next, but the disruptions of the last two years have significantly dented the annual amount raised. I wouldlike this year to see all Liverymen review their obligation to help fund the Company’s activities. The easiest way to do this is by way of the monthly giving scheme. Over the years the number of Liverymen contributing has reduced and I would appeal to everyone to consider if they can manage to give at least £15 a month by way of standing order of regular payment from their bank account. If all 180 Liverymen did this we would raise over £30,000 a year (£40,000 if gift aid is claimed). Please contact me confidentially if you would like to do this.

Increasing our membership

The Company does a fantastic job and with more members we would be able to do even more. The 200thLiveryman was clothed in January 2015, exactly two years after the first Liverymen were admitted in January 1993. We now have 180 paid up Liverymen. Can we set ourselves a challenge to bring to the attention of active people who are eligible for membership the excellent work that the company does and encourage them to apply to join us? One thing that has changed over time is the age and work profile of individuals. To keep the Company vibrant and relevant to modern times we need to ensure we have Liverymen who are active in their trades, professions and vocations. So, I challenge every one of you to bring to the attention of someone who is in active employment – and probably below the age of sixty! – what the Company does and encourage them to join us. Why can’t we rekindle the enthusiasm of the original founding Welsh Liverymen and get one hundrednew members over the next 12 months? Three hundredLiverymen in the 30th year would be good! Achieving these four objectives will put the Company in a position of strength. But the real privilege of being a Welsh Liveryman is being able to participate, not merely paying quarterage and contributing to the Charitable Trust. We are an organisation supported by only two part-time and very diligent employees, Christopher Dale our Clerk and Angela Parry our Assistant Clerk. To succeed in getting everything done we rely on the voluntary work of our Liverymen to organise events, seek applicants for Awards, interview applicants, select winners, present Awards, organise the regular publication of the Welsh Livery Bulletin, maintain our web site, seek new Members and interview them prior to clothing. The officers and Committee Chairs of the Company are always keen to have new people joining them or offering service as advisors when people have specific expertise. If you think you might be able to help I am sure you will get more out of your membership by being actively involved and the more people we have involved the more work beneficial to Wales and the United Kingdom we will be able to do. I look forward to serving and working with you over the coming year.

Stuart Castledine

19 April 2022