The Worshipful Company of Bakers celebrates an historic occasion

21 April, 2006
A meeting at Bakers Hall honoured two baking industry members for lifetime service and, for the first time, admitted ladies to a centuries-old Livery. Sylvia Macdonald reports
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Alexandra Tompkins with Clerk John Tompkins

City of London Livery Company, the Worshipful Company of Bakers, whose first record dates back to 1155, marked another historic occasion on April 3, 2006.
During a Court Meeting held at Bakers Hall, Jean Grieves and Hugh Weeks were admitted to the Freedom of the Company by Presentation – the gift of the company – each in recognition of a lifetime of service to bakery education and the baking industry.Jean Grieves was lecturer and assistant principal of Tameside College near Manchester, where her inspired teaching set many future confectioners on their career path. For the past 12 years she has headed up the British Society of Baking, which has enjoyed unprecedented success during her leadership. Recently, she organised its most successful Golden Jubilee conference at Birmingham NEC and, having gone out on a high, Jean has now stood down to concentrate on other things.Hugh Weeks spent many years working at confectionery ingredients supplier Renshaw, specialising in technical sales. He was also a renowned demonstrator and lecturer and still judges confectionery competitions today, always taking time to encourage students. He has been privileged to work with the Royal household, acting as adviser on variouspoints ranging from diplomatic receptions to Royal weddings.At the event, both Jean and Hugh said they were conscious of the honour bestowed on them and thanked the Master, Wardens and Company. They were entertained to dinner in the Livery Hall at the conclusion of the Court where 70 liverymen, freemen and guests enjoyed a four-course dinner with wine. The menu, chosen by Master of the Worshipful Company, Alan Willis, was based on a 16th century menu to commemorate 500 years of Bakers Hall on the same site. It included smoked eel tartlet, honey roast rack of English lamb, field mushrooms and a brown sugar meringue.Music was provided by Edward Pick, a student of the Guildhall School of Music.Special guest speaker was Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat president and MP for local constituency Southwark North and Bermondsey, who gave an entertaining address on politics. For the first time in several centuries, ladies were admitted to the Livery by Patrimony and Redemption. Baroness Perry of Southwark and Jane Gordon are already Liverymen by Presentation, but only recently has the Court agreed to extend the Livery to include ladies by the other methods of joining the Company of Servitude, Patrimony and Redemption.The new liverymen are Alexandra Tompkins – the daughter of Past Master and Clerk John Tompkins – and Maureen Bonanno-Smith. They were admitted into the Livery, both being Free of the Company and of the City, in the traditional manner.Alexandra, already a BA (Hons) is now awaiting acceptance of a PhD proposal and Maureen is a legal secretary and plays a significant role in athletics at county, national and international levels. She was formerly a competitor and latterly an official andhas received awards for 50 years of voluntary service.



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