Edinburgh businessman Don Young has taken over as Master for The Merchant Company which has represented more than 40 professions for more than 750 years.
Leading figures from Edinburgh’s business community gathered to take part in a traditional ceremony at St Giles’ Cathedral for the Kirking of The Master service to install the new Master.
Mr Young is the owner of WYM Real Estate and has 37 years’ experience in the UK property industry, advising clients with consultancy, development and brokerage services.
He will serve a two-year term, succeeding Pat Denzler who was the first non-Royal female Master. The Princess Royal was the only other woman to hold the position.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Young said: “It is a great honour and a privilege to take on the role of Master of The Merchant Company, an organisation which combines history and tradition dating back to 1260 with major involvement in the business, educational and charitable life of Edinburgh today.
“There is a proud tradition set by the 264 Old Masters who have held this role before me since the Company’s Royal Charter was granted in 1681, and I look forward to furthering the company’s high standards and good works in Edinburgh.”
The Merchant Company’s original purpose was to protect trading rights of merchants in the City of Edinburgh.
Today, more than 500 businessmen and women are members and are actively involved at the heart of the city in activities which include ownership and governing of George Watson’s College, The Mary Erskine School and Stewarts Melville College; support for the frail and elderly and young people in Edinburgh and the completion of a £5.8m housing development for the frail and elderly in Liberton.
Mr Young has been a member of the Merchant Company for more than 25 years and has been actively involved with the organisation as Treasurer and past chairman of the Property Committee.
He has also been a Member of the Merchant Company Education Board, a Trustee of the Company’s Widows’ Trust and its Endowments Trust. He has served as a Governor of George Watson’s College and chaired its Property Committee.
He is a Director of the Sportsman’s Charity, The Surgeon of The Society of High Constables of Edinburgh and a Manager of the New Club.
Outgoing Master, Pat Denzler, now assumes the title of “The Old Master” within The Merchant Company and also the honorific of being Lord Dean of Guild, Edinburgh’s Second Citizen following the Lord Provost.
She said: “My two years as Master have proved highly enjoyable and challenging. The Merchant Company blends the best of tradition with total modern-day relevance. All our Members donate their time, expertise and business skills to come together to make a major impact on the lives of many children and older people within our city”.
Ms Denzler served on the board of Scottish Enterprise and was a Trustee of the Royal Yacht Britannia. She is a past President of Leith Chamber of Commerce, Queen Margaret University Graduates’ Association and Edinburgh Businesswomen’s Club.
She is currently chairman of a charitable committee seeking to raise a Statue of John Rattray signatory to the first rules of golf.