27.03.17 Martin Payne

Master’s message April 2017


The new year saw the first of our regular dinners, this time at the Vintners’ Hall. McLaren Automotive was chosen to receive the Award to Industry but events on the night almost threw the event into chaos. An unexploded WW2 bomb had been uncovered in the Thames and all roads around Embankment were closed. Our guest speaker, James Banks, Head of Bespoke Cars at McLaren Special Operations, was stuck in the traffic and was running late. Just in the nick of time everything fell into place, James arrived and we all gave a sigh of relief – except me, as I had to improvise on my speech. I think I got away with it and the video promoting McLaren saved the day – a worthy winner indeed. We hope to have two of their sports cars at the forthcoming Banquet at Drapers’ Hall in May.

A visit to HMS BELFAST was a cracking evening and Cdr Mark Leaning brought the time on a warship to life by describing what went on and the effects on the sailors in times of conflict.

An invitation to the Saddlers’ Company to witness the National Saddlery Competition was an exciting evening. The quality of leather work was superb and our young protégé, Kirsty Thomson, was awarded five medals and two trophies. In fact Capel Manor College was mentioned in about 80 per cent of all the prizes awarded.

At the end of February, the Clerk and I attended the bi-annual Sea Cadets parade at Upminster, where the salute was taken by Cdr James Nisbet.

During a visit to Hybrid Air Vehicles we heard about the latest developments in Airlander, where the team was testing the engines as a prelude to flight testing. The ‘flying bum’ as it is known by the locals in Cardington, is an innovative means of air transport that may just succeed. The bottom line is that more funding is required before it becomes commercially viable.

Recently I accompanied the Master Leatherseller on a visit to Capel Manor College so he could see first-hand the excellent developments and first class training that are under way.