Installation Dinner

The new Master and his Mistress celebrated his installation at dinner held at Vintners’ Hall, on November 17, after his investiture.

The dinner was attended by over 150 Liverymen and their guests. Speeches were made by Liveryman Jonathan Driver, in welcoming the guests, and Sean Roberts, a long standing friend of the Master in reply.

After an intriguing reveal of some of the Master’s secrets, the new Master replied to the toasts and welcomed everybody to the start of what will definitely be another splendid year in the tradition of the livery.

A packed hall, with a record 108 Liverymen, greeted the 339th Master, Richard Watling, with a roar of approval and a brimming glass of Knockando – a favourite malt whisky from his time as Chief Executive of J&B. Earlier, in a time-honoured ceremony he installed the new Wardens with their customary declarations before congratulating his wife Sarah on becoming the new Mistress Distiller and presenting her with the Distillers’ brooch.

His guest speaker Sean Roberts, a friend from his early days at Wilkinson Sword lifted the curtain a smidgeon to reveal the secrets of the new Master’s success in persuading unsuspecting friends to give up their precious time and contacts in pursuit of ambitious projects for his charities, whether flying a Chipmunk into Goodwood, or displaying the Queen’s collection of cars (at the Festival of Speed) some of which had not run for decades. The Court and Livery were warned that more ideas were in the pipeline in a busy year and that their little black books also risked being raided. Perhaps the Company Chaplain, David Parrott, had wind of this with his amusing grace hoping we would avoid “..throttling new Master Watling”!

Jonathan Driver, who had been a colleague of the Master’s for many years at Diageo, introduced his principal guest Air Marshal Sir David Walker with his customary aplomb, his mastery of the complex metaphor and voice marinated in expensive whisky. Before inviting those present to join him in a stirrup cup, the new Master pledged to uphold the best traditions of the Livery, to lead the Company into an affiliation with the RAF, and to start an exciting new international relationship with the Jenever Guild in Schiedam. It promises to be another vintage year.

The Ship’s Cat.


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