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NL Dec 2021


WCoMC is a collegiate forward looking Modern City Livery Company; we maintain City traditions, share expertise and information between fellow members and give back to the community through our pro bono activities.

WCoMC News 



Master Steve Cant






Goldsmiths' Hall - Candlelit




New Liverymen

Peter Johnson














The Annual Report 2010-21 is available now.


     Get To Know ... 
Artefact... again?

Newsletter Editor:

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Issue 77:  23 Dec 2021

Masked Santa makes his second appearance here !


Our Master's Voice 

It has been a busy time since my Installation and the last Newsletter.  
Very briefly, I have attended the “Silent Ceremony”, marched in the Lord Mayor’s Show (reported in GTKP3) and attended the new Lord Mayor’s address to the Livery, all in late November.  This event was also addressed by past Lord Mayor Alderman Sir Charles Bowman. Sir Charles chairs the Pan Livery Steering Group, and again he gave prominence to the survey of philanthropic giving by Livery Companies being masterminded by Bob Harris.  Bob's work on the survey continues to raise our profile in the Civic City, with the current survey in flight and results expected in 2022. 

I also attended the Garden of Remembrance Service at St Paul’s as well as my first outside Livery Dinner at the magnificent Goldsmiths’ Hall with the Solicitors Company.  The hall was completely candlelit – simply spectacular. 

The New Master’s reception on 24th November went well and I was pleased to clothe new Peter Johnson in a short ceremonial Court. Congratulations Peter!

There was a short series of presentations. (Ed:  Which went down well for being brief and featuring some new faces!). 

I was pleased to welcome the new Court Assistants to my first Court as Master, on 8 December. This too seemed to go well and everybody played a full and active part. It was a first in that we used Zoom to allow one Court Assistant - who is self-isolating - to join us virtually. The Court Supper afterwards was an enjoyable affair, but we were all very careful, taking lateral flow tests before hand and not singing Christmas Carols. (Ed:  Several people got “pinged” a few days later, including me. We took tests.... all OK!)

In early December I visited one of our older founding Members – John McLean Fox – as I report below. My conversation with him, and a discussion that took place at the Court meeting got me thinking afresh about what we’d call our “value proposition”.  Why do people join us? What’s in it for them?  See my LinkedIn posts for my ruminations and also for my regular blog about where I’ve been representing the Company etc. 

Most recently we had our Christmas Lunch at Ironmongers' Hall on 13th December where I was pleased to meet in person several members who did not enjoy our virtual events.  We all managed a good time in spite of mounting Omicron infections and people dropping out... 

Looking ahead, and all subject to Covid, I have already received several invitations to dinners and events and expect to receive more. For example early next year I will be joining the Plaisterers’ Company for their Masters and Clerks event which is the largest one in the year. 

That just leaves me to offer my very best wishes to everyone for Christmas and the New Year notwithstanding any new Covid restriction.  I really hope that you are able celebrate with family and friends. 

Future Events 

We have several virtual event coming up over the next couple of months, including two CMCE Showcases and one MMIW. Details are on the website. These will go ahead as planned. 

Our next major in person event will be the Charities Supper on 24th January.... at the time of writing (23rd December) we are hoping that this will go ahead and it is available for booking here. However, we need to be mindful that new restrictions might come with the new year nad will keep you posted about this event.  We plan to have three speakers, all ProBono clients, who will talk briefly about their work and how they are going "onwards and upwards" following our help:

  • Jonathan Collie - who is the Founder and Chief Executive of The Age of No Retirement. Our Charitable Fund has provided grant funding and we have provided pro bono support in developing and extending their Common Room project across London
  • Alison Farquhason - who is the headteacher at Buckhurst Hill School and who has been supported by one of our experienced mentors over the past year.
  • Rose Aidin - who is Chief Executive of Art History Link-Up, which she founded to make Art History available to all. She contacted the Company in early 2020 for help in business planning, allied to making improved grant requests. 

The supper will be preceded by an Admissions Ceremony, a traditional opportunity for existing members to welcome new Freemen and congratulate those who are being clothed in our Livery.

Annual Report 

The Company's Annual Report 2020-21 has been published and is now available to read or download from our website.  The Report includes a review of all our activities over the past year and is a worthwhile read.  Many thanks to all who contributed content and to PM Denise Fellows and Suzanne Harris for all their hard work producing it.  

Second Warden Kanan Barot 

Kanan tells me that she has been appointed as Assistant Vice-President in the President’s Office of City University.  Her role is AVP Civic Planning and Development will play an integral part in improving participation and enhancing the impact and visibility of City’s civic engagement activities.  Kanan tells me that this will require focus on increasing understanding of and embedding civic engagement internally at City, working with colleagues, students and stakeholders, and on contributing to future engagement strategies across the University with local networks (including the City of London and the Livery movement) and wider connections across the country.  Overall, it's ensuring that City is playing its part as a good citizen of Islington, London and the UK, forging the correct liaisons and supporting the relevant projects that will help student employability and City's own credentials as a civic institution.

Sticking with City University, I, as Master, have been invited to attend their Graduation Ceremony taking place at The Barbican Centre on Tuesday 1st February 2022. (And as an Alumnus of City I’m particularly looking forward to that one!)

Progressing to the Livery 

Court Assistant Nanette Young reminds us that City of London Freedom Ceremonies are now being held in person and are available to book.  Having said that it seems that things are busy as they deal with a backlog. Furthermore it seems that Murray Craig who has administered the ceremonies for many years is going to retire – in March ‘22.   If you want the full Murray experience (highly recommended) at your own Freedom Ceremony, you need get your skates on !!…  More information from Nanette

John McLean Fox

John was a founding member of the Company, was one of the early supporters of efforts to set up the Centre for Charity Effectiveness and, together with PM Mike Jeans, started what we now know as the Pro Bono Committee. He has recently moved home to a comfortable flat in Leigh on Sea (where he has lived for over 56 years) where I took the chance to visit him recently.  Although in good spirits he is physically quite restricted. He retains an active interest in the Company, enjoys reading the Newsletters and staying in touch. John’s office contains all his Company certificates, and a silver salver presented to him in 2004 to mark his 10 years’ service as a Court Assistant was also displayed in pride of place. We had a very enjoyable chat about old times and new, our shared enthusiasm for supporting charities and some the characters who we both know.  We also looked at some photos - again old and new. John’s message to other members is simply this. “To enjoy the full range of activities on offer via the Company and to live life to the full”.

We agreed that being a member gives one the opportunity to enjoy stimulating experiences that would otherwise not be available. That was certainly the case for him (Ed: And me!).  John was keen for me to understand his view that one becomes a Livery Company member for life, not for when it is just convenient.   He has been disappointed by some friends who have dropped out early when they can no longer get up to London easily – as indeed John cannot. “Membership is about so much more than that”.

I am sure you will join me in wishing John, who will be 88 years old next month, and his wife Maria, our very best for Christmas and a very good 2022. 

My Most Intersting ... (errr!) Career 

PM Patrick Chapman stepped up for the latest edition of “My Most Interesting …. Whatever” on 3rd November.  Rather than focus on just one client situation, he gave give us an overview of his career in his own inimitable fashion.   The “What happened next?” interludes were intriguing and the 20+ people on the Zoom session got into the swing….   Patrick’s talk brought back memories for many of the attendees, as indeed past events have done. Judging by the chat there were some recollections of early assignments for people and, perhaps some less welcome memories of being made redundant.  (Ed: certainly from my perspective).  It was clear that Patrick had had considerable experience in the not-for-profit sector before joining the Company and it is no surprise that he has been at the forefront of driving our pro bono efforts for many years.   Nice one Patrick! 

Wine Tasting - Never Say Never

The WCoMC Wine Club organised another virtual Wine Tasting on Friday 19th November, despite having said “no more” back in the autumn.  The focus was on Christmas Wines from your supermarket (Ed: Waitrose!) and as well as suggested wines the team provided background notes and suggestions for food pairing, with their inspiration being on how the French do Christmas.  Thanks as ever to Patrick & Ann Chapman and Patrick McHugh for organising another enjoyable and sociable event. 


CMCE Research Awards 

A brief mention of these awards, more fully reported in the CMCE Newsletter.  Nick Bush hosted the awards ceremony on 11th November.  Read all about it here.

While we're on CMCE, a reminder:  The CMCE Next Gen initiative was launched recently, consiting of a series of 7 consecutive conversations on Clubhouse, every Thursday starting from 20th January 2022. The series will conclude with a live, virtual event on 10th March. Look out for further details, which we be will shared in due course on the CMCE LinkedIn page. You can also read more about this initiative and how you can get involved

Sheriff Candidate Andrew Marsden

It has just been announced that Andrew Marsden, the Chair of the 15 strong Financial Services Group of Livery Companies (FSG) and elected Member of The Livery Committee, is intending to stand as a candidate for Non-Aldermanic Sheriff in 2022-23.

There has been a fair amount of correspondence about this and at the recent dinner I attended with the Solicitors’ Company I was approached by Andrew Marsden himself.  As a result I have agreed to support him and suggest that individual members might consider supporting him also. Further information about him and his campaign can be found here:  

The Future Of Education – Time for a Radical Rethink 

Early in this academic year, our Company invited four experts with wide ranging education sector experience to tackle the thorny question “The Future of Education – Time for a Radical Rethink.”
The context: the perfect storm - pandemic-related school closures, parents working from home and homeschooling, school staff sick - and the unstoppable need for rapid compliance with changing government guidance.

Their view: the pandemic has set back learning. Some children did better, but for many, social interaction and learning through play was missing. To catch up, schools offered extra hours - not always well received by children – “Don’t punish us for what’s not our fault”, but the transition online did bring better connecting opportunities for parents, carers and teachers. 

As we learn what works and what doesn’t, a fundamental question remains – what is happening in education? The panel’s key headlines:

  1. A negative impact on belonging, engagement, psychological safety and well being for children, parents, staff and governors. We learn so much through interacting with others, and mental health issues increase with confinement. Eighteen months of exhaustion is taking its toll on leaders, teachers, students and parents.
  2. In a digital world schools cannot level up for the disadvantaged further compromised by limited access to the internet.
  3. Assessment - exams are a blunt tool, and not everything that counts can be counted. How to create a trusted, fair system which can’t be gamed or biased?
  4. Schools and young people’s groups face significant financial pressures. They need financial investment and targeted supplementary expertise, led by those who know what’s needed (i.e. teachers leading consultants not the other way round). 
  5. Plugging the gaps of history: deprivation caused by a lack of investment in schools, supplementary education and communities has led to schools acting as social workers, coping with societal breakdown and feeding the hungry. How do we resolve that? 

What’s the Management Consultants’ role? 

Dona Henriques, with insights as an all-ages educationalist, spoke of the educational amnesia of the past. All the panel felt there are resources which can be better shared and implemented to build a sustainable future for our young people - with the help of people like us.

We are active, highly experienced Management Consultants, Mentors and Coaches… sharing a passion to give back to Society, and there are schools, leaders, groups and communities who would welcome some input to the issues emerging in a time of health crisis. This is a call to action to make a difference in young people’s lives. There is urgency to this – can we help?

The company wishes to thank Dona Henriques, Carol Selwyn-Jones, Hannah Wilson and Dr Simon Davey for their contributions to the panel and to the guests for their questions and comments.
Read the full article by Simon Davey here.  

YBI Update - Video 

Further to an article in the last GTK Philanthropy Newsletter, the 5-minute video about our work with YBI (that John Corneille organised for the Pan Livery Conference) is now available and accessible via this link (no password required).  In the video, Anita Tiessen (YBI CEO) starts by describing the work of YBI, with a couple of young entrepreneurs describing their enterprises.  Anita also describes the accreditation process (which we support) followed by John Corneille describing our work. Worth a look!

Get To Know - Court Assistant John Watson

John's story: "The very same John McLean Fox suggested that I join the Company 10 years ago and introduced me to the then Master Mary Collis. The opportunity to engage with a Livery Company and learn about the City was appealing. I joined with a view to “giving back”, initially through pro-bono work and more recently through the Faith Group, as Deputy Almoner and as a Court Assistant.

After University in the UK and abroad, and a spell in industry in the Midlands, I joined PA Management Consultants in 1970, focusing on corporate strategy engagements. John, Calvert Markham and I were all in PA and we have kept in touch over the years. However, my last year as a bona fide consultant was back in 1976, after which I left PA to be CEO of Delta Metal Limitada, a company in Sao Paulo providing parts to the emerging motor and white goods industries in Brazil. It was a great experience, making returning to life in the UK a difficult adjustment. I returned because I really wanted to be an entrepreneur, not a manager, and I took full advantage of the incentives and bought a majority stake in a clapped-out engineering company in Twickenham, hoping to turn round its fortunes! It was not to be, but not without trying – getting into CAM type teaching products to get a handle on the marketplace. 

I joined Spicer & Pegler for a few years, and it has been good to meet John Corneille, Calvert Markham and David Johnson again, all of whom I had met at S&P. A short spell in another company followed, but I was looking for another opportunity to “do my own thing” as they say. This emerged when I was asked to land a job in Portugal relating to the monitoring of the European Community Structural Funds. We did not get the job, but it whetted my appetite for this kind of work. I founded The Evaluation Partnership (TEP) with a colleague, and we set about bidding for “evaluation” contracts in Brussels in 1990.

After spending 10 years building a brand name, we recruited a team of multi-lingual graduates. The work was fascinating and took us around the world in search of evidence about impacts and outcomes from different policy instruments, programmes and frameworks. We led several EU wide consortia, managed to win exclusive framework contracts and built a cross-EU team of about 15 professional evaluators. The variety of the work was enormous, and we had completed some 200 wide ranging engagements when I handed over the day-to-day management and looked for an exit., TEP was sold to a subsidiary of the Coffey Group (Melbourne) in 1990, which has since been taken over by TetraTech. 

My wife, Lis, was a Deputy Head before retiring and our eldest son Ben is a QC. Some of you have met Luke, who is CEO of XLP. Daughter Rachel is a solicitor. Six granddaughters keep us all very busy and grandchild No 7 is due later this month!"

Artefact... again?  

A couple of years ago, we asked "What artefact would best represent the work of Management Consultants?" .  This was prompted by the lack of a gift from our Company in the Guildhall – the room where Freedom Ceremonies are carried out.   Back then there was little interest in the search for an appropriate management consultancy artefact, but Karol Szlichcinski did propose that the ideal artefact would be a pyramid, in honour of Barbara Minto, who created the “Pyramid Principle” while working at McKinsey in the 1960s.   Then there were no volunteers to take this idea forward but now the question has re-emerged.  Coincidentally I noticed this icon at the Coopers’ Hall recently.  It’s part of a poster that represents all the Livery Companies.  It is interesting that the artist has chosen a flow diagram as an appropriate icon for us. This is OK as far as it goes, but we need something in three dimnensions... I know IPM John Pulford has another idea but let’s throw it open again… Does anyone have any ideas, or would be willing to take forward the idea of developing an appropriate icon?  Just contact me.  

Lock Down Projects 

Last time I asked about your lock-down projects and how they were going.  Well, disappointingly, nobody wants to boast about their D-I-Y , arts or crafts projects (or wants to own up to one).  Accordingly I will not trouble you with the story of my own efforts on new stained-glass window for my lounge. Just enjoy the view…

And Finally ... 

...a festive thought from Oscar Wilde:

"There can be nothing more frequent than an occasional drink" 

Thanks for reading this far and stay safe.

Steve Cant

Editor / Master


This newsletter is produced by the WCoMC Communications Group. Please let us know if you have any items to include in relation to any topics that come to mind! The opinions expressed in this newsletter represent those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the Company.
​WCoMC is a Chartered Charitable Organisation (Privy Council Reference C877) and a Company Incorporated by Royal Charter (Company No. RC000819).