Dr Yvonne Burne OBE, JP assumed the reins of Master in 2009 and, within weeks, was able to announce that the Petition of the Guild for Company status had been granted by the Court of Aldermen of the City of London. Her speaker at the Installation Dinner, a new event in the calendar, was Mr Henning von Spreckelsen of the Chess for Schools Project. The Preacher at the Annual Service was the Revd Kathryn Rumens, Rector of St Giles, Cripplegate, and the speaker at the Franklin Lecture on ‘Unlocking Potential’ was Freeman Anthony Buzan. The Lecture and subsequent Banquet, held at Drapers’ Hall, were sponsored by the Drapers’ Company and by The United Westminster Schools/The Greycoat Foundation.
The translation from Guild to Company status was celebrated at the Banquet in the presence of the Lord Mayor in whose Lord Mayoral Show the Company participated as part of the Modern Companies’ Float for the first time. The Election Dinner, presided over by the Master’s Consort following an unfortunate accident by the Master on the previous day, was addressed by Sir John Rowlings who continued the theme of Unlocking Potential – a theme which also ran through the Master’s seminar series held at the Hall of the Worshipful Company of Innholders. The Public Speaking Contest took place with a record number of participants and the Master’s Weekend, walking in the Cotswolds, proved a very happy occasion culminating in a visit to Highgrove, the home of HRH, The Prince of Wales. The Trust Fund made its first awards at a special Luncheon at Bakers’ Hall ‘to reward excellence and innovation in their achievement and training in order to encourage both students and their mentors to undertake, and the public to appreciate, the work of educators’.
During the year the membership exceeded 200 for the first time and so, at the close, it was decided to move the hall usage from the Worshipful Company of Bakers, which could only seat 77 at the maximum, to the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers which could sit far more. The Educators have expressed to the Bakers their deep gratitude for the hospitality and considerable support given by the Bakers over the last eight years. It is hoped that the Bakers and Educators will continue to share the luncheon after the United Guilds Service in the future.