The Master, Tony Ward, writes “In following in the footsteps of many prominent and illustrious Past Masters of our Company, I am humbled by the role, and at the same time proud to be able to undertake the Mastership for the year ahead.
As many of you will know, I have spent the last 52 years in Structural Engineering Consultancy, having set up my own firm in 1976, the very year that this Worshipful Company was formed, then known as the ‘Company of Builders’.
My mentor under whom I trained was a founder member, the late Lawrence Kenchington.
He was thrilled when I last saw him a few years ago now, to know that I, his protégée, would this year become Master.
I first joined this industry as I am passionate about the built environment, in which we all play such a crucial role. This Company embodies the whole spectrum of construction professionals, which is why, in my terms, it is such a vibrant and unique Company amongst the Livery of the great City of London.
As liverymen, it is such a privilege to be the guardians of our generation for all the professions, trade guilds and crafts that we represent, it is so well established in history, and it is vital that we continue the traditions for future generations to come.
I hear constantly from new members that joining the livery gives them the opportunity to ‘give something back to the industry’ that has been their livelihood, I endorse that view, and share it with a passion.
It is the very reason why I became a Freeman of this Company a dozen years ago.
My theme for the year ahead has expanded somewhat over the year leading up to Mastership.
Firstly, my theme is to continue Immediate Past Master Ian’s focus on Apprenticeships in our industry. This vital area of skills has been neglected by successive governments, and at last, it is back on their agenda. I myself served an apprenticeship in the railway industry, ‘the University of Life’ as I call it, manufacturing railway rolling stock, so closely allied to today’s much heralded ‘off site construction’, for which we once had the perfect industry and infrastructure. Sadly, the railway workshops which once covered the whole country were dismantled, and the skills lost for a generation. They would have been the perfect industry to have been converted to the manufacture of prefabricated housing, schools and the like, now so often needed for a wide range of construction applications.
My second theme is to continue to promote ‘fellowship’ within our livery company, and to harness, in particular, the talents and ambitions of newly elected members.
We have had a great and varied intake of ‘new blood’ over the recent past, and need to ensure that we harness their talents and skills. They are the lifeblood of our livery, and they represent the future. We are introducing a ‘buddy’ system, which CA Michael Rigden and his membership committee are bringing to fruition.
My third and final theme, is to support the Lord Mayor Treloar’s College in Hampshire with some fundraising efforts that I will challenge the wider company to support me in during my Masters year. You will be hearing more about that in due course, but I thought it only right to undertake some ‘hands on’ event which is likely to be towards the end of my term, rather than at the beginning, as it may involve ‘a little risk’. Roger Southam and his committee are working up some ideas that will be revealed in the ensuing months, and I urge all members to support that initiative.
IPM Ian has had a really excellent year, and has represented our livery company widely, adding to its now well established reputation and rightful place in the Modern Companies, as well as the whole livery movement. The Mistress and I look forward to continuing that representation during our year at the helm, and to meeting many of the fantastic membership that we have, and continue to generate.
We will be publishing a varied, and I hope interesting series of social events and visits throughout the year ahead, and we trust that as many of you as possible will be able to support these.”