October 10, 2022

DAME JULIE KENNY, DBE DL, INSTALLED AS SECOND LADY MASTER CUTLER – 4.10.22

Dame Julie Kenny, DBE DL, was installed on Tuesday in a wonderful day of celebration as only the second lady Master Cutler in the Company’s 398 year history.

The Installation Ceremony is steeped in tradition and began with a brew of hot browis (consisting of bovril and vegetables) or sherry being offered to distinguished guests in the Reception and Drawing Rooms.  Freemen and personal guests were then duly invited by the Beadle to take their seats in the Old Banqueting Hall, followed by the formal Processions of the Company/Partners and official guests.  We welcomed ITV Calendar into the Hall who interviewed Dame Julie and filmed some of the Installation Ceremony.

Mr James Tear, the outgoing Master Cutler, addressed the Company and began by thanking the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire and the Chief of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue for their tremendous support throughout his year of office.   He went on to detail the magnificent Cutlers’ Feast in May which enabled him to reciprocate the hospitality of over 25 London Livery Companys, the Lord Mayor of London’s visit and business lunch which were highly successful and useful and mentioned the Forfeit Feast being another highlight also attended by the Lord Mayor of London.  The Better Learners, Better Workers Scheme Awards was held recently with some 94 young people graduating.  The Company has continued with its charitable activities and the Charitable Trust has distributed some £70,000 to over sixty charities across South Yorkshire this year.  His Master Cutler’s Challenge has raised £200,000, a staggering sum of money, to help support the fantastic charity Cavendish Cancer Care.  He thanked Jo, his wife, for being his Mistress for the last year and for all the hard work and for the tremendous support she had given him.

He wished his successors Dame Julie, her husband Iain and the Hallamshire Mistress, Rachel Abbott, a successful and enjoyable year ahead and knew that they would be brilliant.

Dame Julie then made and swore an Oath and Declaration and received her Badge of Office, after which the Senior and Junior Wardens, Mr Charles Turner DL and Mr Philip Rodrigo did likewise and were awarded their Badges of Office.  The Searchers, Messrs Keith Jackson, Ian Nicholls, Cameron McLellan, Miss Jane Robinson, Mr Peter Hoy and Mrs Marie Cooper, were subsequently invited to make their Declarations.

After the Installation Ceremony there was a Procession to Sheffield Cathedral, led by the Beadle, where a Service of Thanksgiving was taken by The Very Revd Abi Thompson, Dean of Sheffield and the Chaplain.  The Junior Choir of Mount St Mary’s college sang three beautiful pieces during the service.

Two beautifully behaved mounted police horses stood guard outside the Cathedral.

A truly delicious and traditional Luncheon of Steak and Ale Pie and Apple Crumble and custard followed and was enjoyed by all.

Dame Julie addressed the Company and laid out her vision for her year in office.  She reaffirmed what a huge honour it was to be installed as the 383rd Master.  She explained she does not come from a manufacturing or distinguished family.  She started her manufacturing business in the Enterprise Zone in Rotherham, after selling her house to raise £28,500 in 1986.  The hugely successful business was sold it 2016.  She now chairs Robson Handling Technology Ltd in Sheffield, alongside being a Non-Executive Director of AES Engineering Ltd.  During her year in office she will be supported by her husband, Iain, and by her Hallamshire Mistress Rachel Abbott and together they will do their best to maintain and enhance the reputation of the company.  Dame Julie is aware of bearing a heavy responsibility as a Woman Master Cutler who came from very humble beginnings and wants to champion women in this respect.  She explained she wants to get out into the region as much as possible, visiting Freeman’s companies and also encourage new, young and older fresh talent into engineering and manufacturing and, most particularly, those from ethnic and minority groups, disabled and low income families.  Supporting and promoting the Better Learners, Better Workers Scheme will help to do just that. Her Master Cutler’s Challenge will support the delivery of a dedicated community engagement and education programme at Wentworth Woodhouse and will be especially targeted at those minority groups of which she is very passionate.

She ended by thanking the Past Master and Mistress, Mr James and Mrs Jo Tear, for everything they have achieved over the year – the huge number of events they had attended – charities, schools, factories and Freeman visits – and for hosting the brilliant Livery Weekend for over 200 Masters and their consorts and all the strong connections made.  She asked Past Master Nick Williams to second this proposal.

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield responded.

Dame Julie then invited everyone to enjoy further drinks in the Hadfield Hall.

Sheffield Floral Club provided some beautiful floral displays in the Hall for the occassion.

A truly auspicious and thoroughly enjoyable day.