The Master – Nigel MacDonald

Nigel Colin Lock Macdonald CA FRSA was born in 1945 between VE and VJ Day. A fairly conventional post-war upbringing included attending boarding school from the age of 9, leaving to start training as a Scottish Chartered Accountant as soon as he could, a few weeks after his 17th birthday.

He became a partner in Whinney Murray in 1976 and subsequently enjoyed a varied portfolio of clients and international responsibilities as that firm grew through merger and organically to become Ernst & Young. He was a member of the Cadbury Committee, which first codified principles of Corporate Governance, was President of the Institute of Charted Accountants of Scotland in 1993/4, a member of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission and subsequently of the Competition Commission, and has served on the Boards of several national and international concerns.  He is an Honorary Commodore of the National Maritime Museum, and continues to serve as Chairman of the Royal Museums Greenwich Foundation.

Nigel has been married to Maggie since 1983, and they are both very proud of their daughter who is a Hospital Doctor as well as being a wife to another Chartered Accountant and mother of their two small children. Their Christian faith is of central importance to all of them.

Through his late Mother, Nigel is a seventh-generation member of the Lock family whose Hat business in St James Street is the oldest Hat shop in the world and one of the oldest businesses in our Country, having served many of the leading figures in our national life since it began trading in 1676. Nigel has been Chairman for nearly four decades and has guided its transition (and survival) from one of literally scores of men’s hat sellers in London during the time when hat wearing was de rigueur for men. Today, hat wearing in almost all countries is a matter of choice, but Locks has not only been able to survive when so many hat shops have had to close, it has gained a truly international reputation amongst hat-wearing men and women for standards or service, flair and quality of goods sold, and the sheer pleasure of wearing. He therefore considers himself particularly privileged to be invited to serve as Master of the Feltmakers.

Upper Warden – Neil Edwards

Neil Edwards joined the Livery in 1997. After 2 years as a Steward, he was elected to the Court in 2007 where his highlight has been proposing the toast to the guests at dinners for three Masters: Past Master Geoffrey Vero, Past Master Eda Rose Lawson and Past Master Peter Simeons. At the latter’s Installation Dinner in October 2015 he commenced his toast by blowing a referee’s whistle as it coincided with the start of the 2015 Rugby World Cup!

Neil is founder and chief executive of Green Parking, who offer boutique parking services to the property industry, and has built and operated two other parking businesses, one of which was sold to NCP in 2002. He initially qualified and trained as a Chartered Surveyor with Healey and Baker where the late Past Master Peter Winfield introduced him to the Livery. Seconded by Past Master Peter Keens, he was admitted at the Spring Dinner at Trinity House in 1996.

Educated at City of London School, Neil has had a long understanding of the Corporation of London and its traditions and events. He has also been on the Livery Society Committee and organised the Master’s Golf Day for a number of years. Most recently he was appointed Chairman of the newly formed Feltmakers’ Events Committee .

Outside work and the Livery,  he is on the committee of the East India Club and has been a keen sportsman over the years, playing rugby for Harlequins, the Barbarians and Scotland, earning six caps during his playing career. These days are spent following Quins from the stands, as well as enjoying racing over the flat and jumps.

Neil is married to Nicki with a son Jamie 24 , an actor and illustrator and a daughter Jody, 22  who herself is enjoying a successful sporting life and in her third year at Leeds Beckett university.

Renter Warden – Simon Wilkinson

Simon Wilkinson was born and bred in Buckinghamshire. Following his father John, he joined the Livery in 2000 and the Court in 2006. His association with the hat trade dates back to his great-grandfather who owned hat factories in Luton from the late 1880s to the 1920s, where he was also Lord Mayor.

Simon is principal of the family owned land and estate agency practice, focusing on strategic development in the Oxford to Cambridge arc. He is on the board of Propertymark, sits on two government ‘Working Groups’ recommending changes to the house buying/selling process and to regulations. He also sits on a Bank of England panel.

In 1980, he joined the Territorial Army (Royal Green Jackets) and was commissioned in 1987. In 2003, Simon was compulsorily mobilised for six months as a Lieutenant Colonel and was Chief of Staff for all the Humanitarian Operations across Iraq.  More recently, he has held key posts in the Army Reserve in a variety of disciplines.

Simon is Chairman of Trustees for the Buckinghamshire Military Museum Trust, representative County Colonel for The Rifles in Buckinghamshire and County President of Buckinghamshire Royal British Legion. He was  appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Buckinghamshire in 2007.

For his R&R, Simon enjoys country pursuits, good rations and entertaining company.

 

Third Warden – Jeremy Bedford

Jeremy Bedford joined the Feltmakers in 2000, following in the footsteps of his father, who was Master in 2004/5. After taking a degree in Political Science at the University of North Carolina, Jeremy joined the Corporate Finance department of Salomon Brothers in 1991 and then worked at Morgan Stanley from 1997 on the UK Equity Desk, after which he ran the Equities team at Investec in London, New York, Johannesburg and Cape Town from 2003.

In 2006 Jeremy joined the then recently founded Fulcrum Asset Management, where he became a Partner, and helped build the business to become a major institutional asset manager before setting up his own capital raising and consultancy business in 2018.

Jeremy is a Governor of Sedbergh School and is also Chairman of the Sedbergh School Foundation.

 

Immediate Past Master – Lady Yarrow – 

Lady Yarrow served as Master of the Feltmakers from October 2019 to July 2021. Gillian Yarrow (née Clarke) was born in the UK in 1950 to parents who had married in India during the war. Much of her childhood was spent in the Far East: Ceylon, Hong Kong and Singapore, although she attended New Hall Convent, a boarding school in the UK, from the age of 9 and only flew back to her family and 2 sisters in the summer holidays.

She read history at Cardiff University attaining a 2:1 honours degree before moving to King’s College London for her PGCE. She went on to teach history in London comprehensive schools.

Married to Alan Yarrow in 1975, they have 2 sons, Max and Guy. Once Max had been diagnosed with learning difficulties and epilepsy, she gave up her teaching career to look after the family but retained her interest in education by becoming a Governor of her local comprehensive school and Chairman of Governors of Finton House, a private preparatory school in Wandsworth. She is currently on the Board of Governors of the City of London Freemen’s School in Ashtead. For the last 15 years she has been involved in fundraising for Mencap, organising a Special Events committee and helping to ensure that, when her husband became Lord Mayor in 2014, Mencap as well as Scope were beneficiaries of his Lord Mayor’s Appeal. She was also actively involved in helping with the fundraising events during his year.

In 2008 Gilly was admitted to the Feltmakers’ Livery and in 2011 elected on Court, becoming Fourth Warden in 2016. Her hobbies include reading, swimming, tennis, golf and kitchen bridge! She is a member of the Hurlingham Club and the Royal Wimbledon and St Enodoc Golf Clubs.