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Past Master Stuart Castledine

The Master - Stuart Castledine

March 2023

The privilege of serving as Master of the Company is about to come to end, and I’m very grateful for the opportunities which representing the Company has brought to Christine and me.

Following the Company’s aim of promoting in Wales education, science and fine arts has been at the core of the activities we have undertaken.

As always the members of the Company’s committees and Trustees of the Charitable Trust have been very active. As a result we have been able to distribute Awards to 66 young people in Wales recognising their achievements and future potential. We also presented the outstanding Achievement Award to Heather and David Stevens at our Awards Celebration dinner in March, where it was a pleasure to see so many Liverymen interacting with some of the Award winners.

March 2023 Dr Ami Jones, the Achievement Award winner for 2022/3, gave a stimulating lecture on her experiences transferring medical expertise from the Army Afghanistan to the NHS in Cwmbran. For the first time we were also asked to help the Lord Mayor of London select a scholar for the Mansion House Scholarship Scheme and this went to Ashley Curnow, from Aberfan who is now studying for an MBA at London Business School. When he finishes, he will be coming to Cardiff to be the Director of Associated British Ports Operations in Wales and the South West of England.

Part of the Master’s job is to be an Ambassador for the Company to the Livery Companies in London and this has been a most pleasurable task. Building on the efforts of other past Masters, we have a growing name in the Livery family and punch well above our weight. The variety and number of activities held by Livery in London is immense – The Sheriffs’ Ball in Guildhall, educational lectures by distinguished people, visits to normally closed place like the Gunmaker’s Proof room, pancake races in the Guildhall courtyard, banquets as fine as you will ever experience in world class locations and fellowship with an amazing range of friendly people – all based on the firm foundations of philanthropy.

I thank all of those who continue to support the Company by being Liverymen and those who participate actively in the works of the various committees, including all of the committee chairmen and Officers of the Company. Our Clerk, Christopher Dale and Assistant Clerk, Angela Parry provide us with outstanding service making sure the administration of the Company goes smoothly and activities are well publicised and I thank them for their help during my year.

On 1st April 2023 Major John Charles will take over as Master and other officers will be elevated one rung up the ladder. I wish them all as much enjoyment as Christine and I have had this year and the Company continued success.

Stuart Castledine

Dear Liverymen,

Over the last two months the Company has had two lovely events which will be reported on fully in the next Welsh Livery Bulletin. A group of London Liverymen got together for dinner on the 36th Floor of 20 Fenchurch Street on Wednesday 18th May and on Friday 20th May Liverymen from Swansea, Southwest Wales, Cardiff and London had an enjoyable afternoon visiting the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, having afternoon tea and then attending the presentation of the Silver Jubilee Development Award to Tomos Sparnon at the Swansea College of Art Summer Degree show.

The great thing about these events was that a number of Liverymen who had not been involved in a face-to-face activity for many years turned up. It was enjoyable to renew friendships and augers well for our social programme to resume gradually over the coming year.

The Committees which support the work of the Company have been active and we’ve held our first hybrid Court meeting.

I have had great pleasure in representing the Company at four London Livery Company dinners – with the Haberdashers, The Paviors, the Actuaries and the Engineers. These are fine events and it is a privilege for me to represent the Company and continue to build its reputation in the City. I’ve been elected to become a Freeman of the City of London and am looking forward to my installation ceremony in October.

The Basketmakers held their weekend away in Cardiff on 18th May and I was asked to talk about our Company in the Banqueting Hall of Cardiff Castle.
The Lord Mayor of London and the Mansion House Scholarship Scheme have invited the Company to identify a person from Wales, probably in the age range 22 to 35, to receive a scholarship of up to £10,000 to help them study a subject connected with activities in the City of London at postgraduate level at any UK university. A small group of Liverymen is promoting this award, detail of which are about to be sent to all Liverymen. Please think about how you can make availability of the Award known in relevant places and also bring it to the attention of any people you know who might be interested in applying.
A number of events are coming up which I’d ask to add to your dairies if they are not already pencilled in.

  • Friday 10th – Sunday 12th June there is the Master’s weekend in Coventry. A few places for both the full weekend and the banquet in the grade 1 listed, 14th century, St Mary’s Guildhall on the evening of 11th June are still available if anyone wishes to make a late booking.

  • Friday 24th June – we have been invited to attend the final of the Sir Ian Stoutzker Instrumental Prize Completion at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, starting 6pm, and to join the interval and post competition drink receptions.

  • Friday 1st July the Engineers Company are having a MOOT in Cardiff and Welsh Liverymen are invited to join them at a dinner in CLINK at HMP Cardiff in the evening.

  • Friday 15th July a visit to see Twelfth Night at Cardiff Open Air festival with supper beforehand is planned.

  • Sunday 14th August we will have a garden party in Insole Court, Llandaff, Cardiff.

  • Friday 30th September to Sunday 2nd October. A little further in the future, the North Wales Group are organising a weekend in Llangollen. The

  • September Court Meeting will be held in Llangollen on 30th September and an installation court will be part of the activities over the weekend.

All events are open to everyone and when the calling notices are sent out I hope many will choose to attend.

You may also like to bring friends and potential future Liverymen along; they will be very welcome. Full information and booking details are or will be available on the Company’s web site. www.liverycompanywales.cymru

Participating in the work of the Livery Company is important – both to get the most out of being part of the organisation for yourself and also to maximise the number of people sharing the workload of running an active Company. We particularly need volunteers to help with the Awards Committee’s work and anyone interested in this is invited to join the committee at one of its virtual zoom committee meetings, the next on being held on Monday 6th June.

Please contact me or the Clerk if you have any ideas that you’d like us to consider.

Best wishes for a good Platinum Holiday Long Weekend.

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