Following the Company meeting on 15th June, the Master hosted a reception for Old Master and Lord Dean of Guild, Peter Hillier.
In proposing a vote of thanks, the Master paid tribute to Peter’s lengthy service to various parts of the Company. His term as an Assistant on the Master’s Court commenced in 2009 but towards the end of that term, due to one of the newly elected Assistants suddenly passing away, he was asked to stay on and ended up serving almost two full terms. From 2011-2019 Peter also chaired the Merchant Company Retirement Benefits Scheme. He served as Treasurer from 2017-2019 before being elected as Master in November 2019.
Little did he know, that his term of office would be unlike most others in the history of the Company. The Covid-19 pandemic started just 3 months after the start of his term, and that changed everything. During the pandemic Peter expertly steered the Company through some extremely stormy waters and despite all the problems, he managed to deliver an active programme of meetings and events, albeit via Zoom and Teams calls rather than face to face. He also instigated the strategic review which led to the Company’s new strategic plan, which is now being implemented. The Master stated that that will prove to be a long lasting and valuable contribution to the Company, and an important part of Peter’s legacy.
On behalf of everyone at the Merchant Company, the Master thanked Peter for his service and presented a gift comprising donations from many Company members. Peter’s wife Joy, who was unable to be present at the reception, was thanked for her support. Peter has indicated that he and Joy propose to put the gift towards the purchase of a painting, which it is hoped will provide a permanent and fond memory of his time as Master.