On 27 October 2017, Brian Blanchard was installed as the new Master of the Worshipful Company of Builders' Merchants (WCoBM). The installation ceremony was at Mansion House, home to The Lord Mayor of London and honorary member of WCoBM Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, whose one-year term as Lord Mayor ended in November.
On the same evening, Wardens Pippa Latham and Stewart Pierce were elected to support the Master in his year. Liveryman Simon Lawson of Lawsons Builders’ Merchants was invited to join the Court as a new Assistant.
The installation was followed by a White Tie dinner to celebrate. Principal guests and speakers included The Lord Mayor and The Lady Mayoress, Sheriff Neil Redcliffe and Emma Redcliffe, and the Master’s younger brother, David Blanchard, Chief R&D Officer for Unilever.
It was a proud evening for the Master and his family. Brian’s career in the industry started in 1975 as Junior Sales Desk Clerk for Ferguson Foster, and by 1978, he had been promoted to Plumbing Manager. In 1982, Brian moved to the role of Contract Sales Manager for Crossley Ferguson where he remained until 1989 before taking the position of Northern Divisional Sales Manager with Hunter Plastics. Brian’s success at Hunter saw his role develop to Managing Director by 2002 and to UK Director of Aliaxis by 2010.
Brian became a Freeman of the Company on 21 June 2006, and was made a Liveryman on 26 October the same year. The Master said: “My installation ceremony and dinner at Mansion House made for an unforgettable evening. It was a superb venue with 289 members and guests.
“My aim as Master in the next 12 months is to carry on the good work of Masters before me, and continue to drive the key objectives of our Livery. These include supporting the industry in training and education - our close links with the Institute of Builders Merchants and the Builders Merchants Federation enables us to support and recognise the achievements of young merchants; raising awareness of the importance of builders’ merchants to the UK economy; and promoting and increasing our charitable fund. We also support the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and a range of other worthy charities.”
Brian continued: “I will also be actively promoting the many events organised in my Master’s year for members and their guests to attend. WCoBM provides an excellent platform for networking, discussing business, and exchanging information and views. It is one of the best networking platforms in the industry for senior people to meet and build relationships. We host events in historic Livery Halls and other prestigious and unique venues in the City to encourage networking between merchants, supplier members and their guests.
“It’s going to be a busy 12 months and I’m looking forward to an exciting year ahead.”