Master and Wardens

Master Currier

Ms Mary McNeil

Master Currier - Mary McNeil

Mary was born and raised in Hove, her father serving as Clerk to the Curriers throughout her upbringing, thus giving her an early schooling in the traditions of the Company. In 2002 she was the first woman to be clothed in the Livery of the Company and is both honoured and proud now to serve as the first female Master of the Company.

Her University studies in languages led her to live and work in North Germany in the early 1980s, first taking a gap year as an au pair in Hamburg, then working as a language assistant in Aurich, Ostfriesland.

From language studies, Mary moved into the travel industry, working with the Thomson Travel Group for 15 years. Starting with a summer season as a holiday rep in Majorca in 1987, she then moved to Thomson Holidays’ head office in London in the Flight Planning department.

Reaching senior management after a few years, she became Head of Flight Planning, managing the routes, slots and scheduling for the largest fleet of charter aircraft in the UK. This expanded to include a fleet of Scandinavian aircraft after she transferred to Britannia Airways at Luton Airport and served as a key member of the Thomson Travel acquisition team through the years of big buyouts in the holiday industry.

Once Thomson itself was bought out, Mary chose to leave the travel industry and moved to Kendal, enjoying rural life in the Lake District for 6 years before returning South in 2009 to run her own small business.

She now specialises in the fast-moving field of online marketing, providing expert advice and marketing tech support for small businesses.

Mary sings with the Brighton Chamber Choir, follows Formula One and still gets a buzz from visiting airports and flying whenever she can. Mary lives in Sussex with her husband Nick and cat Jenson.

Elected 16th October 2020

Upper Warden

Mr Nicholas Bryant

Upper Warden - Nick Bryant

Nick was born near Tunbridge Wells and went to school at Marlborough College. His Livery education began back in 1983 when his father, Jonathan, was Master Currier and Nick sampled his first cigar at the Livery Dinner. With Basil, his grandfather, also being Master in 1966, there is a strong family connection to the Curriers company.

Nick’s early career was in marketing, across different industries from insurance to wallpaper manufacturing to hotel reservations.

In the early 1990s there was an abrupt change away from the cosy office life and into the hands-on world of property development in Fulham, West London, working on several residential refurbishment projects before starting his own development business in 1994.

Since then Nick has taken on larger and more interesting residential challenges in Barnes, Notting Hill & Holland Park. Some of the projects have been recognised with industry awards for their quality and innovation.

Now living in Hampshire, very close to the 7 Squadron base at RAF Odiham, with whom the Curriers have a longstanding affiliation, Nick is married to Maria, who runs a local befriending service and they have four children, Rachel, Toby, Emma & Abbey who have all begun to enjoy the Curriers experience.

Nick has benefitted from his previous Curriers roles of Court Assistant, Junior Warden and being involved with the Charity & Events Committees as well as being the current organiser of the Curriers golf commitments.

Weekends are either spent playing golf at Oak Park Golf Club, cricket at Odiham Cricket Club, where Nick is membership secretary and captains one of the teams or walking that has included completing the 3 Peaks Challenge, climbing Kilimanjaro and trekking across Jordan.

He is also a member of the PCC at his local church of All Saints, Crondall.

Elected 16th October 2020

Renter Warden

His Honour Richard Hawkins, QC

Renter Warden Richard Hawkins

Richard has lived in London throughout his life. He was educated at Hendon County School and University College London. He was called to the bar in 1963 by Lord Devlin at Gray’s Inn in 1963 when he was 22 years old. He practiced at the criminal bar in London and on the South Eastern Circuit taking silk (appointed a QC) in 1984.

In 1989 he was appointed a Circuit Judge in 1989 sitting at the Inner London Crown Court. In 1992 he was transferred to the Old Bailey and sat there until his retirement in 2012. Part of the summer was also spent sitting on the Western Circuit. In 1992 he was elected a Bencher of Gray’s Inn.

As a young barrister working at the Old Bailey he became aware of the role of the City Corporation and the Livery Companies. On appointment to the Old Bailey he applied to become a Currier and was delighted to be accepted finding it to be a friendly and intimate Livery Company. He was elected after his retirement onto the Court of the Curriers and served for 4 years.

In retirement he took part in the University of The Third Age becoming Chairman of the Kingston on Thames U3A. He is part of a poetry group and leads a group studying Shakespeare.. His wife Annie runs an Art Appreciation Group and Richard is a keen member. Leisure is spent in Dorset where Richard sails X Boats in Poole Harbour.

Richard and Annie have two children, Vickie who is the Director of Medecins sans Frontieres UK and Ben a Primary School Teacher in Jordan.

Elected 16th October 2020

Junior Warden

Mrs Emily James

Junior Warden Emily James

Emily was born and grew up in Brighton. She went a long way north to study French and Spanish at Durham University and then completed her education at the College of Law in Guildford and Bristol, qualifying as a solicitor in 2003.

Emily developed an early love for international life during her gap year, travelling around South America and then getting a job in a ski resort in Switzerland. She went on to work for Reed Elsevier in Paris during the third year of her degree course and then moved to work in Mexico City for four months.

Emily practiced as a solicitor in London for a number of years, before returning to Paris with her husband to live for a further five years; both of their children were born there.

In 2014, Emily decided to build on her experience in the legal profession and become a commercial mediator, a change she has never regretted. She is self-employed, working from her home, now back in Brighton - although her mediation work takes her all over the place.

In her spare time, Emily spends a great deal of time at her second home in France. She also (reluctantly) tries to keep fit, enjoys cooking and fine wines, and is rarely seen without a book in her hand.

Emily was introduced to the Curriers by her uncle and godfather, Ian McNeil, and is delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to serve as Junior Warden. She is looking forward to learning more about the workings of the Court and the Company over the year.

Elected 16th October 2020