Forfeit Feast 2018
More than 200 guests, including dignitaries from across South Yorkshire, attended the traditional Forfeit Feast at the Cutlers’ Hall. The principal guest speaker was 690th Lord Mayor of the City of London, Charles Bowman, who attended with the Lady Mayoress, Samantha Bowman and the Aldermanic Sheriff Tim Hailes, his consort Fiona Adler along with Sheriff Neil Bowman and his wife Emma.
In welcoming everyone, the Master Cutler, Ken Cooke, said that Charles Bowman had proven to be an inspirational Mayor, visiting more than 30 countries as an ambassador for the UK and the financial services, ensuring continuity and stability during the uncertainties of Brexit.
The Lord Mayor’s visit to the north had included Manchester and Leeds, culminating in his visit to Sheffield – ‘leaving the best until last’, said the Master Cutler. Referring to his meeting with business leaders earlier in the day, the Master said that the enthusiasm and innovation from all sectors working together had created both local and national prosperity.
“Manufacturing in the Sheffield City Region has had another fantastic year. We are eagerly awaiting the opening of McLaren and Boeing to add to our high value, high profile manufacturing portfolio.
“The Cutlers’ Company has a vital role to play in the region’s identity and profile. Our progression towards increased relevance has been noticeable – our involvement in Made in Sheffield, our Better Learners, Better Workers programme, the Master Cutler’s international trade mission and the Master Cutler’s charity challenge, all show how we are now firmly embedded in the fabric of our region.”
The Master also said that on his visits to London and other cities throughout the UK, he has taken every opportunity to promote and support our manufacturing, seeking positive local publicity to achieve this. “I used to take the subtle approach,” he said. “Now I go straight for the jugular. During my year of office, I hope to have left a mark – although, hopefully, not on too many people’s necks.”
He expressed his disappointment that the move towards regional devolution had been halted by personal animosities. “This risks damaging the potential wealth, growth, credibility and future standing of this region.
It beggars belief that at a time when budgets are being cut and hardship created that we are turning away government funding which would filter down to all our citizens.”
In response, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said how much he enjoyed visiting Sheffield where he received nothing but kindness and hospitality. “It is wonderful to be back in Sheffield, leaving the VERY best until last,” adding that he had been inspired by all he had seen and heard.
He went on to congratulate Ken Cooke on the exceptional work he had done promoting the region and the Company of Cutlers. “For almost 400 years you have supported your trade and the local crafts people, keeping the city at the cutting edge of the cutting edge,” he said. “Your charity and educational work is also exceptional with the Master Cutler’s Challenge on target to raise more than £200,000.”
His main theme was trust, saying that trust in financial institutions, of which he was a part, had been in decline for some time. “Trust remains at all time low,” he said. “If the UK is to remain the global hub of the financial and professional services sector, then, at a national level, we have a responsibility to re-earn the trust of the society we are here to serve. Internationally, we must demonstrate that the UK is continuing to invest in being the trusted partner of choice.”
The evening was rounded off in style by the Worsborough Brass Band whose concluding rendition of Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory brought everyone to their feet.