2017's Master's Speech
Last year, you placed your trust in me, and elected me Master. It has been my privilege and great pleasure to be Master of this wonderful Livery Company and to be able to work with the Court and Committees. As I pass the baton to the Master Elect, Anthony Behrens, I am very confident that he will have a successful year.
We know that the Coopers' are a warm hearted open-church company, and having now been to visit many other Liveries, I certainly noticed how much high esteem is attached to us.
We still have a trade. Many of the Liveries have lost their trade whereas the ability to make water-tight casks by hand and not machine is still with us as is evident given the workloads of cooperages in the UK and Ireland.
Not all the liveries are fortunate to have a hall and ours is a gem. Maintaining the seventeenth century hall doesn’t come cheaply and much work is put in by the Clerks' office and the Hall and Heritage Committee.
The finances have needed bolstering over several years as we progress to a desired break-even position and one would always want to progress faster. We have limited sources of income. The leases on the top two floors of the hall and now what was the Museum coupled with the catering contract with CH&Co. are important and Quarterage also plays a significant part.
In the last two years we have admitted 41 new freemen and 20 new liverymen with more in the pipeline. I urge Liverymen to monitor your new freemen and if the circumstances are right, encourage them to proceed to the Livery. Today has seen another 11 new freemen admitted with 7 new liverymen and I am so pleased to see them here at Common Hall.
Charity continues to play a large part in the Company’s business and I know that many members contribute to the Coopers'CIO or donate your time to visiting the organisations and grantees we support so thank you. Your contributions are most welcome and appreciated.
If I was to leave you with one remaining thought, it would be Coopers’ Hall. It’s a gem of a building and people know it, love it so it’s up to us as a Company to keep it fit for purpose. It embodies the Coopers’ Company and I have been very proud to represent it and you over the last year.