On 20th October 2016 Stephen Turner BA was installed as the new Master of the Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants (WCoBM). The installation ceremony took place at Drapers’ Hall, which was founded over 600 years ago and is one of the City’s Great Twelve Livery Companies in the City of London. The Hall doubled as the interior of Buckingham Palace in the film ‘The King’s Speech’, and provided a magnificent setting to celebrate the occasion.

The ceremony included the admission of seven new Liverymen: Malcolm Aldridge, SELCO (retired), Tim Allen, NMBS; Jamie Atkinson, JT Atkinson; John Newcomb, BMF; Tim Statham, retired WCoBM Clerk; Tony France, Ibstock; and Erica Smith, MPS (retired).

Following the installation, the evening started with a champagne reception – an ideal networking opportunity for the 250 Liverymen, Freemen and guests that attended – and continued with a black tie dinner. Entertainment by tenor Karl Loxley, who first appeared on BBC One’s ‘The Voice’, wrapped up the evening perfectly with his outstanding voice.

Stephen became a Freeman of the Company in 2008, and a Liveryman soon after. He was invited onto the Court in 2011, a privilege which led to his role of Master today. Stephen’s career in the industry started in 2000 when he joined Sharpe & Fisher Plc as Marketing Director, which at the time was one of the largest independent merchants in the UK. When the business was later sold, Stephen moved to Jacksons as Heavy-Side Director and following their sale to Grafton Group, he remained a Director of Jacksons but worked with colleagues in the Grafton Group companies on Heavy-Side purchasing until his retirement in 2009.

The Master says: “My installation ceremony and dinner was an unforgettable occasion and an honour to share with family, friends and guests. I now embark on 12 months of representing our Livery in the City and within our industry, and look forward to raising the profile of our Company. My first significant event was the recent Lord Mayor’s Show where we had a Float to highlight the importance of builders’ merchants to the UK economy, and the diverse career opportunities in our industry.

“The Company will continue to support training and education for young builders’ merchants through our close links with the IoBM and BMF,” adds the Master. “And our attendance at the annual Livery Schools Link gives us the opportunity to meet with young students to inform them about our industry. Increasing our charitable funds for distribution to worthy causes will remain a key focus too, as will our support of the Mayoralty and the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.

“I aim to actively encourage members to get involved and attend our events, which are organised throughout the year. WCoBM provides an excellent platform for our members and their guests to network, socialise, discuss business, and exchange information and views in historic Livery Halls and other prestigious and unique venues in the City. No doubt it will be a busy 12 months but Christine and I are looking forward to it!”