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IT chiefs in cloaks and sashes gets Queen's mark of approval

Surrounded by men with pikes and muskets

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The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists received its Royal Charter yesterday - its mark of approval from the Queen.

The Livery Companies were originally proto-trade unions or professional standards bodies, depending which you look at it, based in the City of London. The first, the Worshipful Company of Mercers, got its Royal Charter in 1394 but was in existence for an unknown time before that. Although some retain a regulatory role - assay marks to show the purity of gold and silver are still overseen by the Company of Goldsmiths - most are now social and charitable bodies.

Yesterday's ceremony was part of Evensong at London's most beautiful building, St Paul's Cathedral. The actual Royal Charter - a large vellum certificate - was blessed before freemen and livery men walked to Mansion House escorted by a ceremonial guard of Pikemen and Musketeers for a banquet with the Lord Mayor.

Charles Hughes, Master of the Company, told The Reg: "This is the culmination of three years' work. It is a great honour and prestige to be awarded the Royal Charter and recognition of the importance of what we do. I hope it will encourage us all in our endeavors."

pikemen

The ceremonial guard awaits

cermonial guard

Fearsome fellows

livery men information technologists

Master of the Company Charles Hughes, clutching the Royal Charter. To his right deputy master Jo Connell is talking to senior warden Ken Olisa.

overtaking a bus

The guard overtakes a bus while leading the company to Mansion House

The Information Technologists Company (ITC), established in 1985, works to promote the industry as a whole but is not a lobby group for specific issues. It is working with another company to set up a technology-focused school in Hammersmith and also works with Lilian Baylis Technology School in Lambeth.

The ITC set up the IT4Communities awards scheme now run by AbilityNet, which finds IT professionals to do pro-bono work for charities. It also runs IT4Arts, which provides a similar match-making service for theatres and other arts organisations.

Information Technologists Company members include Bill Gates and Tim Berners-Lee. It is supported by donations - the largest being £5m from Dame Stephanie Shirley, founder of F-International, now Xansa. ®

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