Queen's Silver Medal
Find out about the Queen's Silver Medal.
Queen's Silver Medal
His Majesty King George VI, Permanent Master of the Shipwrights' Company, in 1944 instituted a Silver Medal to be awarded to the Shipyard Apprentice of the Year. Kenneth Wood was the first winner of the medal and the Company was charged with the administration of the competition (see photograph above). This it has been doing ever since, and in 1978 it added a Bronze Medal for the runner-up, and in 1998 another Bronze Medal for the best craftsman, in memory of the late Derek Kimber OBE, Prime Warden, and a noted shipbuilder with a particular interest in apprentice training.
Today the scheme is run each year by calling for nominations from every known yard in the United Kingdom. The best are then selected by the Company to undertake a week's course and evaluation at Hawkhirst on Kielder Water in Northumberland in September. The directors of the course short list four or five to attend the Education and Charities Committee for interview in early December, at the end of which the winners are announced.
The winners, with their families, are invited to attend a meeting of the Court of the Company in January for ceremonial presentation of their medals. In 1995, the 50th anniversary of the competition, the medal winners and their families were invited to Buckingham Palace to receive their awards from H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh, Permanent Master. This privilege was enhanced by the presence of Mr. Kenneth Wood, the first King's Medallist, who had become President of his own shipyard in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 2012 the Prime Warden, H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, presented the medals to the winners and their families, in the presence of a large gathering of the Livery, at St. James' Palace.
Each year approaching 100 candidates apply for places on the Leadership and Team Building Course and some dozen or so are selected. Detailed reports on the outstanding contenders for medals are made by the course directors to the Shipwrights' Educational Sub-Committee whose members the choose the winners of the Silver, Bronze and Derek Kimber medals, who also receive cheques for £1500, £1000 and £750.