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The membership of the Worshipful Company of Farriers consists of craft farriers, veterinary surgeons and an amalgam of persons committed to the welfare of the Horse, the continuing of the craft and contributing to the success of the City of London. Founded in 1605, the Worshipful Company of Farriers is number 55 on the register of the City of London Livery Companies.
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Simon Fleet: Master 2013-2014
Born in London a few weeks after the outbreak of World War 2 and apart from a short period when the family relocated to Yorkshire and I attended Leeds Grammar School, I was brought up in Surrey (now considered to be part of London) and was educated at Whitgift.
The time spent in Yorkshire, although an unhappy period educationally, was largely responsible for the career path I chose. We lived in a small village and I became friendly with one of the local farmers and spent every spare minute with him and his family. And even after we returned to Surrey I went back to Yorkshire on the train for all school holidays. So, agriculture was the chosen career and I attended Brooksby Agricultural College under the tutelage of Ted Stearn and Vic Hughes who subsequently became principal of the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.
The government of the day were discussing the possibility of the UK joining the Common Market and it seemed clear to me that the chance of success for a small farmer in such a massive market, where large seemed to be the password for everything, were very limited and I decided to opt out of the practical side and find new opportunities closely linked to my experience and the family farm was sold. I joined the pharmaceutical industry and spent almost all my life linked to the veterinary and animal health sectors, initially in research but subsequently, and for the vast majority of my working life, in the commercial arena. During this time I was lucky enough to manage and be part of some amazing teams launching new products to European markets.
My initial love of animals has not diminished since my school days with the possible exception when I decided to venture into the Christmas poultry market. With about 50 turkeys to hand pluck and dress with not too many days left before they should be in the oven, it was becoming clear that I should possibly limit my interests to four legged species!
Horses have always been one of my passions and it is interesting to look back at a picture of the Shire, Toby who I spent so much time with in the school holidays. I could easily tack one up now but would still need the help of an upturned bucket to get his collar in position. Although I no longer ride, my daughter Jane and grand daughters continue the equine interest on the South Downs.
My sporting interests are now confined to golf and supporting Leicester playing rugby.
Plans and actions are already in place to improve and update our website, and although I take no credit for this, it was on my list. Many thanks to Tony our esteemed Treasurer.
I will be keeping a very close eye on the Future of Farriery Training and offering support when needed to those far closer to the action than myself.
I hope and expect it will be a happy and enjoyable year for us all and one that would not be possible without the wonderful support of my wife Sally.