The City Livery Club's Root and Branch Award

In 2014 the City Livery Club celebrated its centenary and marked the occasion in several ways including the publication of the Club's history (One hundred not out) and by instituting an award to recognise 'exceptional service within and across the Livery'. 

The City Livery Club's Root and Branch Award is unique in that it is the only pan Livery award and in just four years it has become a hallmark of excellence for Liverymen who have supported the wider aims of the Livery in a truly exceptional manner. 

Because the City Livery Club unites all the Companies and promotes fellowship it is ideally placed to judge and moderate nominations for the award.

Livery Companies are encouraged to nominate Liverymen who they believe are worthy of recognition by the City Livery Club and the deadline for nominations for 2019 is 17 April.

How does the award benefit the Livery?

The City Livery Club's Root and Branch Award has rapidly gained visibility among the Livery Companies as a means of shining a light on the work of stand-out Liverymen.

In addition to the spotlight that falls upon the winner, the award also promotes the good work of the Livery as a whole; it also provides positive stories about the Livery's impact upon wider society and promotes the social and philanthropic purpose of the Livery at large.

How does the Award benefit the winner?

Naturally the winner will receive publicity within their own Company and by the City Livery Club. The winner receives the Root and Branch Award Medal which is usually presented by the Lord Mayor at the City Livery Club's annual civic luncheon.

The winner also receives a certificate and twelve months of membership of the City Livery Club. The winner is further invited to nominate a charity to which the City Livery Club will make a donation of £1,000 (usually charity with a close link to the Livery).

The Root and Branch 

How are candidates nominated?

The City Livery Club calls for nominations each year by Livery Companies (nominations must be signed by the Master) of a Liveryman or group of Liverymen who have given exceptional service to the Livery. 

A simple application form is provided by the Club and evidence (e.g., testimonials, reports) about the nominee's achievements should be attached with the form. Nominations are reviewed by the City Livery Club's Root and Branch Award committee and a separate judging panel selects the final winner. 

How many awards are made each year?

There is only one award winner each year, however the Club has on occasion awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award to candidates whose exceptional contribution has spanned a substantial number of years. Additionally the Club may award a Highly Commended where a nominees work is particularly good and worthy of recognition.

What characterises a winning nomination?

The achievements of the nominee may be driven from within their own Livery Company or via some wider Livery initiative embracing more than one Company, but the impact must be external (e.g. donating time, talent or funds for one's own Company without external impact is unlikely to qualify). The best way to illustrate is with examples:

The inaugural winner was Tom Ilube, a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists. Tom helped transform a failing school into one rated “outstanding” by OFSTED in 2013, and was the prime mover in working with the Mercers’ Company to found and fund another school, the Hammersmith Academy. The Judges were particularly impressed by his dedication to the project. He was the first Chair of the Governors and encouraged work across the two Livery Companies that combined to achieve a far greater impact than would have been the case had the Companies worked in isolation. Hammersmith Academy was the first new school founded by the Livery Companies in the 21st century and has since gone on to thrive.

Tom Ilube receiving his Root and Branch Medal from HRH The Princess Royal in 2014.
Image copyright The City Livery Club.

A Lifetime Achievement Award was also presented in 2014 to Geoffrey Bond OBE, Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers for wide ranging service to the Livery over many years.

The following year the Award went to Phil Davis of the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers. Phil has served as Chairman of the Children’s Magical Taxi Tour organising committee since 1994, and has been the driving force for 21 years behind the annual trip which takes seriously ill children and their families to Disneyland Paris. Many Livery Companies sponsor a cab on this trip so that it both showcases the work of the Hackney Carriage trade and the Livery Companies working in partnership to benefit so many children.

In 2016 the Award went to the author of this blog for his work in writing The City of London Freeman's Guide and in promoting the good work of the Livery through Social Media.

The Root and Branch Award medal belonging to the author

Rob Heathfield of the Worshipful Company of Constructors received a Highly Commended in 2016 for his work developing and running a programme of scholarships for young professionals working in the construction industry.

The 2017 Award was Keith Lawrey of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. Keith was, however, nominated  by the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers. Keith has successful piloted over 25 other Livery Companies in petitioning for their respective Royal Charters. In addition he was the prime mover in founding the Worshipful Company of Educators.

Keith Lawrey (Centre) winner of the City Livery Club Root and Branch Award 2017 with the Rt Hon The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley (Left) and President of the City Livery Club Alderman John Garbutt (Right). Image copyright The City Livery Club.

A Highly Commended was given to John Taylor of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters for ten years’ of service as Chairman of the Livery Companies Skills Council, and in particular, the impetus he gave to the development of the Livery Companies’ Apprenticeship Scheme.

A Lifetime Achievement Award was also presented in 2017 to Penrose Halton of the Worshipful Company of Turners for her creation of and commitment to the Wizardry in Wood exhibitions over many years.

The most recent winner was Reginald (Reg) Brown of the Worshipful Company of Insurers for exceptional leadership in supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds to work in professional careers in the City. He received his award from Past Lord Mayor Sir Andrew Parmley at the City Livery Club's annual civic luncheon.

Past Lord Mayor Sir Andrew Parmley presenting Reg Brown with his Root and Branch Medal in 2018.

Also recognised in 2018 was Lt Col (Retd) Bill Clark, Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Woolmen for his role in putting the Sheep Drive on an annual footing to raise funds for the Lord Mayor's Appeal and Woolmen's charities.

When is the winner announced?

The judging panel meets in April and the winner is informed soon afterwards, a formal announcement and press release is made some weeks later, prior to the City Livery Club's annual civic luncheon.

Are re-submitted nominations considered?

Two Award winners have been re-submissions from previous years, so it pays to re-submit if a nominee is not successful the first time around. A nomination that builds further evidence, grows in impact and accrues testimonials will only be strengthened. If at first your nominated candidate does not succeed... 

Note: This article is in part adapted from materials kindly provided by the City Livery Club's Root and Branch Award committee.

Want to learn more about the Livery Companies?

The City of London Freeman's Guide is the definitive concise guide to the City of London and its ancient and modern Livery Companies, their customs, traditions, officers, events and landmarks. Available in full colour hardback and eBook formats and now in its fourth or Masterpiece edition. The guide is available online from Apple (as an eBook), Amazon (in hardback or eBook) Payhip (in ePub format) or Etsy (in hardback or hardback with the author's seal attached). Also available from all major City of London tourist outlets and bookstores.

The City of London Freeman's Guide is available in all major City retail outlets and online

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