Engineering honour for Jane and Sembcorp

By Sembcorp PR Department
05 June 2012
Sembcorp Utilities UK


“An enormous honour and perhaps the highlight of my professional career.”
That was the verdict of Sembcorp’s Jane Atkinson after being chosen to join the Queen at one of the key events of her four-day Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Jane, Vice President Utilities Operations at Sembcorp Utilities, was one of 700 guests from the trades and professions specially invited to dine with Her Majesty and senior members of the Royal Family at the celebratory Diamond Jubilee lunch in Westminster Hall on June 5th. The event was hosted by The Livery Companies – 108 trade associations based in the City of London.
Jane’s invitation came about as a result of her work to promote engineering and in particular the opportunities available to women in the profession culminating in her being awarded the Stephenson Award from the Worshipful Company of Engineers last year.
Jane is the youngest ever “Fellow” of the world renowned Royal Academy of Engineering and a former winner of the CBI’s “First Woman” Award for Engineering. She is widely regarded as one of the UK’s principal ambassadors for women in engineering and is also an adviser to Institution of Chemical Engineering on diversity issues.
The companies associated with The Livery were drawn from abundant trades and professions throughout the UK, ranging from grocers to gun makers, fruiterers to fishmongers.
The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry also attended the meal and Jane was lucky enough to be seated with the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, at the Engineers and Arbitrators table.
She said: “It was a totally thrilling event and what struck me was how down to earth and normal Prince William was. We talked about all kinds of mundane things. He was a really nice person.”
After the House of Commons' speaker John Bercow had said grace the loyal toast was proposed by the Lord Speaker Baroness D'Souza. Music played by the National Children's Orchestra of Great Britain was performed during the event.
Prince William’s wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, joined a table hosted by the Master Glovers and Patten makers. Prince Harry was on the Fruiterers and Gardeners table.
Also among the vast range of participating Livery companies were the Worshipful Companies of Goldsmiths, Butchers, Innholders, Weavers, Distillers, Clockmakers and even Tax Advisers.
Guests dined on marinated Uist Island salmon with Lyme Bay crab, followed by saddle of Welsh Cambrian Mountain lamb with braised shoulder of lamb, grilled Isle of Wight asparagus, Jersey Royal potatoes and an aptly named Jubilee sauce.
The "symphony of dessert" was chocolate delice, bread and butter pudding and berry compote with Sandringham apple sauce.
A Ceylon tea was served made from a bush planted by the Duke of Edinburgh during a state visit to Sri Lanka in 1954 in the Pedro Tea Plantation in Nuwara Eliya.
NOTES ON THE LIVERY COMPANIES AND WESTMINSTER HALL
The Livery Companies of the City of London originated in medieval times as Guilds responsible for trade regulation, including checking the quality of goods, weights and measures and training.
Today the companies use their funds to undertake charitable and community work.
Westminster Hall is the oldest building on the Parliamentary estate. What makes it such an astonishing building is not simply its great size and the magnificence of its roof, but its central role in British history. In and around the hall grew the major institutions of the British state: Parliament, the law courts and various government offices.
Closely involved in the life of the nation since the 11th century, a journey through the hall's past is a journey through 900 fascinating years of English history. Today, Westminster Hall is mainly used for occasions of state and important ceremonies and a rule from between the two world wars states that events should have a legal, parliamentary or national significance.
The hall is used by the two Houses of Parliament to present ceremonial Addresses to the Crown on important public occasions. The Queen replies with a speech. These have included the presentation of Addresses to the Queen during her Silver Jubilee in 1977 and Golden Jubilee in 2002.
Westminster Hall is also used to commemorate anniversaries, such as:
  • the 300th anniversary of the Glorious Revolution in 1988
  • the 50th anniversary of the Second World War in 1995
  • the 25th and 50th anniversaries of the United Nations in 1970 and 1995
  • the 700th anniversary of Simon de Montfort's Parliament in 1965

The opening ceremonies for conferences of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the North Atlantic Assembly have also been held in the Hall. On these occasions, the Hall is brightly lit and decorated with flowers and coloured hangings.
Only three foreign heads of state have addressed both Houses in the Hall: President Nelson Mandela in 1996, President Charles de Gaulle in 1960 and President Lebrun in 1939.
The Hall is also used for public exhibitions. Between January and May 2008, an exhibition on the history of the hall included fragments of the King's Table, found during an archaeological excavation in 2006.
Other exhibitions have commemorated the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot in 2005, the Hall's 900th anniversary in 1999 and the centenary of Gladstone's death in 1998.
The responsibility for Westminster Hall is shared by the Lord Great Chamberlain (on behalf of the Queen), the Lord Speaker and the Speaker of the House of Commons. Events in the Hall are organised by Black Rod, the Secretary to the Lord Great Chamberlain.
For occasions not requiring seating, it has been estimated that 6,000 can be accommodated in the body of the Hall and 650 on its steps and platform.



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