Taking snuff out of a ram’s horn was a privilege that Andrew Fairley, British Baker’s Student Baker of Year, politely declined. He also hopes he will never need to invoke the right to a private cell in one of Glasgow’s police stations or indeed fight alongside Glaswegians as they defend their city.
These entitlements are now his, following his induction as a member of the Incorporation of Bakers of Glasgow. He has been made member of this ancient guild in recognition of his achievement in British Baker’s 2005 Baking Industry Awards.
Fellow winners Debra Cunningham, Celebration Cake Maker of the Year, and highly commended student baker Daniel Smith were also honoured at the ceremony at Glasgow Trades Hall as they became members of the order which dates back 500 years.
“It was a remarkable honour to be given the opportunity to join and an exciting experience – a day that I will never forget, it was brilliant,” says Andrew. “The first thing I noticed was lots of people in thick gold chains like a mayor would wear and another chap wearing a strange dark cloak. It struck me that Dan (Smith) and I were by far the youngest at the ceremony. When my name was called I had to stand up and repeat after the deacon a sworn statement and sign the book which dates back hundreds of years.”
The Incorporation of Bakers of Glasgow is part of the Glasgow Trades House, which was set up over 400 years ago to look after workers and their families involved in the 14 major crafts at that time. These included the maltsters, hammermen, coopers, weavers and bonnetmakers.
Before receiving the award, the three bakers were granted the honour of Freeman Citizenship of the city of Glasgow as this is necessary to become a member of the Incorporation.
Debra is head of cake decorating at 44-shop Skeltons Bakery, where she has developed a method of painting cakes with intricate designs.
Andrew, aged 19, and Daniel, aged 20, are both coming to the end of their three-year apprenticeships with Greggs North East.
Daniel was impressed when he arrived in Glasgow for the ceremony. He was even more taken aback by the company he was in when he heard the citations and saw others being given the honour: “I didn’t realise all the people were that much older and had titles to go with their names. When it came to my turn I was extremely nervous.”