Sheffield region is the ‘can do’ place to be

Installation: Master Cutler Neil MacDonald (left) and Senior Warden Tony Pedder follow Cutlers' Company Beadle Geoffrey Dakin to the traditional service of thanksgiving in Shefffield's Anglican Cathedral. Picture: Stuart Hastings
Installation: Master Cutler Neil MacDonald (left) and Senior Warden Tony Pedder follow Cutlers' Company Beadle Geoffrey Dakin to the traditional service of thanksgiving in Shefffield's Anglican Cathedral. Picture: Stuart Hastings
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The Sheffield City Region is an exciting place to be, with fantastic companies and real success stories.

That was the upbeat message from new Master Cutler Neil MacDonald, speaking at his installation in the historic Cutlers’ Hall.

Mr MacDonald, who, at 56, is one of the youngest Master Cutlers in recent years told members and guests of the 388 year old company how frustrated he felt when he read negative comments about the region.

“We have some fantastic companies in advanced manufacturing and real success stories to tell. The Sheffield City Region is an exciting place to be right now,” he said, before going on to describe the city as “a fabulous city of culture.”

Mr MacDonald, who spent 20 years as group finance director at Firth Rixson and the last five in a similar role at Rotherham’s most profitable company AESSEAL highlighted the continuing manufacturing successes of the region.

The Advanced Manufacturing Park was going from strength to strength. It was already home to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), set up by Sheffield University and aerospace giant Boeing, and the Nuclear AMRC.

Now Rolls Royce was building two factories on the site and a start had been made on the AMRC’s new training centre.

Sheffield was also home to two outstanding universities, one of the most proactive Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the country, an Enterprise Zone that would be the focus of inward investment and a City Deal which would give the region control over streams with funding and a focus on skills and apprenticeships.

The city also boasted “the greatest theatre complex outside London, in addition to its museums and galleries,” said Mr MacDonald, a Sheffield University graduate and a chartered accountant who is currently vice chairman of Sheffield Theatres, in addition to being a member of the Board of Sheffield Children’s Hospital, the Cathedral Archer Project and the Whirlow Hall Farm Trust

On the sporting front it had been home to Sebastian Coe, who had just masterminded the greatest Olympics ever, and Jessica Ennis, who was the greatest heptathlete ever – and, Sheffield Wednesday was back in the Championship.

“I look forward to working with our Freemen, the Council, the LEP, the local chambers and the universities and continuing the collaborative approach which is making the region such a ‘can do’ place,” added the new Master.