Award winners with their awards

16.08.19 Liveryman Nick Prentice, Makers of Playing Cards Company

Roving reporter’s report for Summer Court Dinner 2019


Pictured above: Trooper Harry Monteith from the Royal Dragoon Guards,  Sargent Melissa Shepherd from RAF Brize Norton and Air Engineering Technician (AET) Christopher Leafe from Commando Helicopter Force with their awards

Steve Pink, Jane and Nick Prentice and Sharon Pink

From left Steve Pink, Jane and Nick Prentice and Sharon Pink

As a member of the Makers of Playing Cards Company, whose Clerk, Liveryman David Barratt is a Coachmaker, I was looking forward to attending your Summer Court dinner with my wife Jane, having been invited by our friend Liveryman Sharon Pink.

It was a lovely warm evening, and so we had a fine drinks reception overlooking the Roman London Wall ruins; and I had an inspiring opportunity to speak to one of the service award winners, Trooper Harry Monteith, a very impressive young soldier and a great credit to the Royal Dragoon Guards. Taking my seat in the Great Hall for my first dinner here for at least 10 years, I found myself looking straight out at the magnificent Holbein, with Henry VIII and his Barber-Surgeons staring back, and immediately felt I had better behave myself. However, a splendid and relaxed evening ensued, in the company of Sharon and your Communications Committee chairman Lesley Upham, whom I was advised had just appointed me as your ‘roving reporter’ for the evening. I settled down with a pen and a spare serviette to make notes….

Like your livery company, the Playing Card Makers does not have its own hall, and we too make our way round many of the City of London’s finest buildings, enjoying so much history. Tonight, our dinner was excellent, and only lacked the white chocolate ‘playing cards’ now de rigueur at our dinners!

Marichi Saxes quartet

Entertainment was provided by Marichi Saxes quartet

After dinner, we were entertained with a musical dessert by the hugely talented all-female saxophonists of the Marichi Saxes quartet. All alumni of the Guildhall School of Music or the Royal Northern College of Music, they have performed individually with musicians ranging from Sting and Seal to The BBC Concert Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic. Unsurprisingly, they have acquired a national and international following for their performances, which include their own original works and stylish reworking of time-honoured classics.

The Coachmakers’ Service Awards followed, honouring a sailor, soldier or airman/woman from each of the military affiliations – those who are deemed to have made the most significant contribution to their unit during the year. Winners for 2018-9 included Air Engineering Technician (AET) Christopher Leafe from the Commando Helicopter Force, Trooper Harry Monteith from the Royal Dragoon Guards and Sargent Melissa Shepherd from RAF Brize Norton. HMS Bulwark’s prize-winner was unable to attend as the whole ship’s company is currently retained on board due to a delay in the engine commissioning programme, but hopes to attend the Aerospace Industry Dinner in November. It was fascinating to hear about the dedication and achievements of these young service personnel, reinforcing the Coachmakers’ primary purpose of investing in young people.

Guest speaker, retired Major General Frederick Roggero

Our guest speaker, retired Major General Frederick Roggero

We were then treated to a highly entertaining and informative talk by retired Major General Frederick Roggero, whose long career in the US military included commanding Air Force units at Squadron, Group, Wing and Centre levels, flying more than 4,000 hours in 22 types of military aircraft as a USF Command Pilot and serving as Director of Operations for Air Mobility Command before he retired in 2010. Roggero is now president and CEO of Resilient Solutions, which specialises in unmanned aircraft systems and security. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and volunteer president of the RAF Museum American Foundation. Please click here to read his speech.

After an excellent speech, Roggero proposed the toast to your Master who was making his last speech at Court Dinners as Master, and was rightly very proud to have been able that day to clothe his own son in your Coachmakers’ livery.

The Master Graham Cole CBE

The Master Graham Cole CBE makes his final dinner speech

Finally, highlighting the Company’s most generous hospitality, we were invited to a Stirrup Cup in the Reception Room.

My thanks to everyone for being so welcoming and, in turn, look forward to welcoming any Coachmakers who would like to attend our Company events, particularly the annual Inter-Livery Card Games Event at Vintners’ Hall on 10th February 2020 and the annual Inter-Livery Bridge Tournament at Drapers’ Hall on 3rd March 2020.

Photographs from the Summer Court Dinner can be viewed via this link: https://philmccarthyphotography.smugmug.com/The-Worshipful-Company-of-Coachmakers-and-Harness-Makers