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Master of ceremonies
He’s already attended more than 100 dinners, a royal garden party, a function at the American Embassy and hosted the Cutlers Feast for 350 guests. The 2017/18 Master Cutler, Ken Cooke, updates Deborah Wain on his year in office
U NSTONE businessman Ken Cooke is more than halfway through his term of office as Master Cutler and it’s been a
hectic but exciting time.
As head of the prestigious Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire,
established in 1624, the Master’s role is to act as an ambassador of industry in the Sheffield region.
Since his installation last October, Ken has attended more than 100 dinners, including hosting the famous Cutlers’ Feast at the Cutlers’ Hall. This year, 330 guests were at the event, the largest attendance in years, and chief speaker was Lord Andrew Adonis.
Ken has also made more than 30 trips to London, including ‘driving’ the famous Master Cutler train service.
He’s been to a garden party hosted by the Queen, twice met Princess Anne and joined high-ranking officials at the American Embassy to espouse the merits of investing in Sheffield.
In addition, supported by a total of 65 companies and organisations, Ken has worked tirelessly for charity. More than 80 small, local charities have already benefitted during his term of office, while he reveals fund-raising is on course to yield a “remarkable” amount for the main beneficiary, Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.
Ken said: “It’s been a fantastic year so far, much busier than I had anticipated, but I want to do and see as much as I possibly can and one opportunity leads to another.”
Ken began his career in engineering and manufacturing at the Central Technical School in Sheffield and went on to complete an apprenticeship in the training centre at Edward Pryor’s. After three years of day-release and evening classes at Granville College he started his own business, CTW Hardfacing, to service manufacturing
Ken has commissioned the manufacture of stainless steel, metre-long, crossed daggers, which feature in the company’s Coat of Arms. They now take pride of place in the old banqueting hall at the Cutlers’ Hall
companies with protective metal coatings. Over the years, he formed a total of six companies, all supplying engineering services throughout the UK and Europe.
Ken became a Freeman of the Cutlers Company in 2010 and, in 2011, became a Member. His main focus is to represent the company as effectively as possible and to gain benefit for business, particularly manufacturing in the City Region. He is also passionate about education and nurturing young people’s ambitions.
Ken says the highlight of his term of office so far was when he encountered a young female sea cadet who thanked him for the confidence she had gained through the Better Learners, Better Workers programme run in South Yorkshire schools. This places work skills into the curriculum through real-life industry projects
Master and Mistress Cutler for 2017/18 are Ken and Janet Cooke, from Unstone

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