London, England: Stephen Bernhard has been installed as Master of The Worshipful Company of Gardeners, one of the 110 Livery Companies of the City of London dating back to 1345.
The honour was bestowed upon the Executive Chairman of Bernhard & Co Ltd by His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, during the Installation Court meeting.
Bernhard has been involved with The Worshipful Company of Gardeners since 1983 and follows in the footsteps of his father, Jeffrey.
Asked about his progression to become Master, Bernhard said: “Essentially you are asked if you are willing to serve on The Court and there follows a series of interviews during the selection process, after which one is voted for by the rest of the court members.
“There then follows a period of between eight and 12 years of progression and then one may be elected to serve as a warden and ultimately as the Master.
“It is a huge honour to be Master of one of the City liveries. It’s an amazing privilege and one that I hold very dear. The 780 Lord Mayors of the City of London have all progressed in this way – the only way to become Lord Mayor, serving the City.”
The Learned Clerk, Major Jeremy Herrtage, said: “The Court of the Worshipful Gardeners has 35 members and these are Officers of Court, Renter Wardens, Upper Wardens, a Spade Bearer and 24 members – 15 below chair and eight above (those who have been masters). The whole Court, led by the Master, runs the company.
“After a short ceremony, which has been the same since we re-formed in the 1890s, there is a celebration dinner for 206 guests at the Stationers Hall in the shadows of St Paul’s Cathedral at which the Master lays out his plans for the year ahead.”
The commitments of the Master are demanding. As well as ceremonial duties, supporting the Mayoralty and formal connections with the Royal Family, Government and City authorities, the Master focuses on the horticultural trade in the widest sense.
Bernhard’s two children, Alex and James and his son-in-law Robbie Lawson, are all Liveryman. “Having three generations of the Bernhard family in the Livery is a rare occurrence and a great personal joy which I share with my father.”
Bernhard & Co Ltd is a long-time member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
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