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Masters' Charity
Ron Pickering Memorial Fund Charity Dinner - 19 June 2013


Last Week in the Hall...we had a fundraising party for a particularly splendid but small charity....The Ron and Jean Pickering Memorial Fund.   This charity, as many Drapers know, is the Master's Charity for this year.

Enormous support from Company members and from outside agencies and kind people ensured that the evening was a huge success! The proceeds from the ticket sales, auctions, and all donations, reached the dizzy heights of £68,000!


Photo by Steven Tiller

This money is specifically targeted at young track and field athletes needing financial help to buy equipment and pay for travel to and from the tracks where they train. They also, on occasion need help with rent and physiotherapy as well as nutritional advice. Between the ages of 17 and 23, there is very little support available, just at the time when arguably they need it most. Many have left school with faint job prospects but are talented sportspeople. We aim to help this talent develop alongside the character and personality of the athlete, so that by the time they reach 23 years old, they have learnt a little about life as well as competing on the track and hopefully making their name as National and sometimes International Athletes!



Photo by Steven Tiller


Photo by Steven Tiller

The party at the Hall took the format of a Dinner with a preceding silent auction, a raffle and a main auction taken with his usual flair by Lord Archer! As it happens, he was himself coached by Ron Pickering so he had a particular interest in the evening.

Photo by Steven Tiller

The Hall filled up quickly with young athletes helping to get everything into shape, Andy Pozzi on crutches because of a foot operation and Robbie Grabarz, recovering from a knee injury, were among the first to arrive. Both know the Hall well, as they were the early recipients of grants organised by the Drapers Company as well as others of the Great Twelve Livery Companies, in the run up to the Olympics in 2012. These grants were managed and given by Jean Pickering of RPMF, to athletes who were deemed to be talented enough to compete as well as being in need of help. 


Photo by Steven Tiller

From start to finish the Fund Raiser went with a swing! It was tremendous to see the enthusiasm amongst the athletes and the loyalty to the memory of Jean and Ron Pickering who had both given their lives to helping young people achieve their potential. Shaun Pickering gave a lovely speech about his late parents. Fuzz Ahmed, coach to many outstanding high jumpers, was the Compere for the evening and Stuart Storey added his professional magic and introduced athletes and Medallists past and present.

As the auction progressed and the total sum being raised became clear, the feeling of elation grew and it is to the credit of those from UK Athletics particularly Alison Potts and Mike Heath who worked so hard to make the evening a success that the final amount was great enough to support young athletes right up to the next Olympic Games.


We heard a lot about the Olympic Legacy and this particular event, held in Drapers’ Hall in the presence of Alderman Gordon Haines and with so many dedicated and passionate supporters present, proved that the flame is still alight and will be carried high until 2016 and beyond.

Photo by Steven Tiller

The Drapers’ Company should be justly proud at what they have supported so generously.


The Hall is an unbeatable venue for an evening like this and the staff ensured a very successful party which was enjoyed by us all.

The Master



The Twelve Great Companies 2012 Olympics Fund 

In 2010, the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London agreed to make a three-year joint charitable grant to the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund in order to support 21 very talented, young track and field athletes as their gesture towards the support of the London Olympic Games. These Athletes were all under the age of 23 and were not receiving financial support from any other source. While the 2012 Olympics were the focus for this initiative, realistically the chances of any of these young athletes making team GB were pretty small. 2016 was the more likely target.


It was really wonderful therefore that, as the Olympics drew near, an extraordinary total of nine of the 21 were chosen for the British team. As the events unfurled five of those nine made the final of their event. Many achieved personal bests, one broke the British record, one came fifth in the World and one, the high jumper Robbie Grabarz, won a bronze medal. 


Some of the athletes supported by the Great Twelve Olympic Fund


To celebrate this tremendous achievement, a reception was held in Drapers’ Hall on 29th October. It was attended by representatives of each of the Twelve Great Companies, officials and trustees of the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, British Athletics and most of the original 21 young athletes. 

 The appreciation of the Companies’ support was very evident from the ‘stories’ of the athletes, and was highlighted by Charles van Commenee, the former UK Athletics head coach, in his speech at the reception.


Mrs Pickering, The Master and Mr Simon Leatham

As a very special mark of recognition, Mrs Jean Pickering (Ron’s widow) was presented with the Honorary Freedom of The Drapers’ Company in front of the assembled guests by the Master Draper, Lady Victoria Leatham, whose original idea the grant had been, in recognition of her Father, The Marquis of Exeter and himself a Draper, who as Lord Burghley had won the gold medal for the High Hurdles in 1928. The Master said that this was a way of expressing the Company’s deep admiration of Jean’s work on behalf of athletics in general and the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund in particular.


Her Majesty The Queen Opens Drapers' Academy

Her Majesty the Queen, the Drapers’ Company’s most illustrious Freeman, honoured the Company by visiting Drapers’ Academy on Harold Hill on Friday 26th October 2012 to open its magnificent new school building. It was only the second time in Her reign that She had visited the London Borough of Havering, and the excitement in the local community and amongst the children and staff was palpable.

Her Majesty The Queen meeting students at the Academy 

Her Majesty was received at the entrance by The Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir David Brewer, who in turn presented to Her, amongst others, the Master Draper, Lady Victoria Leatham, the Chair of Governors, Past Master Major-General Adrian Lyons, and the Principal, Mr. Matthew Slater.

She then toured the new building, which the staff and students had moved into last month. It was designed by the Architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley and built by Kier Construction.

Her Majesty The Queen being shown a science project

Year 10 students showed The Queen their science projects and the arts department also performed a scene from The Little Shop of Horrors. She visited a Gymnastics class and met members of Staff, Governors, the Drapers’ Company Wardens and representatives of the London Borough of Havering and the Drapers’ co-sponsors Queen Mary, University of London. She was then entertained by the School Choir.

The Queen took luncheon in the school dining hall with students from the new Sixth Form, which started in September, and some 60 other dignitaries and members of staff. The Academy’s chefs cooked the three-course lunch, which was served by a team of waiting staff from Drapers’ Hall. The Chair of Governors gave a short speech of welcome and proposed a toast to Her Majesty.

Her Majesty The Queen meeting chefs and waiting staff after lunch

Before She left, The Queen unveiled a Foundation stone which commemorated Her visit, and received a posy which was presented to Her by Grace Taylor from Year 10.

Her Majesty The Queen unveiling a Foundation stone to commemorate her visit 

Her Majesty The Queen being presented with a posy by Grace Taylor of Year 10

She then departed, but on Her way out of the building She was greeted by a cacophony of cheering from a flag waving crowd of enthusiastic children from the nearby Primary and Special Needs schools.


Her Majesty The Queen departing the Academy

It was a wonderful day, which the young people from Drapers’ Academy will remember for the rest of their lives.



Master Draper, Anthony Walker, accompanies H.R.H. Prince of Wales to the Diamond Jubilee lunch at Westminster Hall - 5 June 2012





Drapers' Hall


Drapers’ Hall is sometimes transformed into a film set, usually as
Buckingham Palace, but has, on occasion, been known to become a
Russian building. 






The Kings Speech - Flimed at The Drapers' Hall