Each Master serves for one year. The Master’s election has to take place on or within twenty days of the Feast of St. John the Baptist, reflecting our ancient links with the Brotherhood of St John. We usually hold the election on the first Tuesday in July.
Ian was born on 26 December 1947 in Liskeard, Cornwall. His father was an Australian who had worked his passage on a ship to the UK in 1925 to join the English wool trade in Bradford. After joining a company owned by a fellow Australian, Ian’s father, Mac, was sent down to Plymouth to open a West Country operation. There in 1933 he met and married Ian’s mother, a fashion buyer for a local store. During the war Plymouth was badly blitzed, destroying the wool warehouse and much of the dock area and Ian’s parents moved to a cottage outside Liskeard.
Accordingly for the first 5 years of Ian’s life, electricity was provided by a generator, candles and oil lamps were often in use and water came from a well. School for Ian started at the village school in the next village, one and a half miles away, on foot, in all weathers. Moving to Liskeard aged 5 reduced the length of the walk to school to one mile each way. At age 10 Ian moved to board at Plymouth College and at 18 went up to Worcester College, Oxford, to read Law.
Ian was articled at Herbert Smith, moving on qualification in 1972 to Ashurst, Morris Crisp, then to Maxwell Batley in 1979. He remains a partner of Maxwell Winward, the legacy firm of Maxwell Batley and Winward Fearon, specialising in corporate and commercial law. He has been lucky enough to enjoy a very varied career, ranging from representing sole traders, through floating on the Stock Exchange or admitting to AIM companies involved in such areas as medical research, the airline business and oil exploration, to putting in place a wide variety of commercial agreements. He finds the law and human nature fascinating and hopes to continue serving his clients for many years to come.
Ian married Jennifer Seyler in 1977. By great good fortune, Past Master Tom Wilmot was a close friend of Jennifer’s parents. Proposed by Tom and seconded by Past Master John Davy, Ian became a freeman of the Company in 1988 and a liveryman in 1992.
Ian is a keen (if undistinguished) member of the Company’s Golf Society, as well as of the Musketeers and the Historical Society. He is the Tallow Chandler Bridge School Governor and Jennifer and he stepped down last year as the link with the Red Cross, responsible for the Company’s stall at the Christmas Fair at Guildhall.
Jennifer has a B.A. (Hons.) in French from Cardiff University and a postgraduate diploma in management studies. She was a marketing manager for Avon Cosmetics when she and Ian met, managing the product line for Europe. Unfortunately the extensive travelling required was inconsistent with bringing up their two daughters, Louise and Alex. After a career break, Jennifer became first an environmental journalist and subsequently a manager for Age Concern Enfield. She has recently stepped down after two years chairing a newly established charity, Hill Homes Foundation, which seeks to improve the lives of older people. In her spare time she is very keen on music, pursuing a piano course at the City Lit. She plays tennis at a local club. She is also a Francophile, having done an exchange aged 12 with Anne Marie Segretain, who, more than 50 years later, remains one of her closest friends.
Louise, a lady freeman, is a Chartered Surveyor, currently a full time mother to Joshua, nearly three and Samuel, eight months, Ian and Jennifer’s two grandsons. She is married to Matthew, a Chartered Accountant. They live in Farnham.
Alex is an artist and fellow of Digswell Arts Trust, where she has her studio. She currently exhibits nationally and has work in private collections in the UK, France and Norway. She is also a co-director of HertsCreation CIC, working with the arts in educational and community settings. She lives in Cricklewood, North London.
Ian and Jennifer have a cottage on the South East edge of Bodmin Moor and very much enjoy spending time there with the whole family, not forgetting Joshua’s dog, Dougall the Lurcher.
Ian and Jennifer also enjoy spending time with their many French friends, both in France and the UK, as well as foreign travel to more unusual places. These have included the Berber oasis of Siwa in Egypt, near the Libyan Border, the Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan and a francophone tour of Vietnam and Cambodia with two of their French friends.
They like to spend as much time out of doors as possible, swimming, skiing, walking or gardening, but when in London to take full advantage of the music, theatre and exhibitions London can offer. They live in Highgate, North London.
Ian and Jennifer are very much looking forward to the coming year and the honour of representing the Company.