Starring role for Welwyn Garden City company director

Marsha Rae Ratcliff

Marsha Rae Ratcliff - Credit: Archant

A Welwyn Garden City businesswoman appeared in the Lord Mayor’s show in a float of her own design.

Marsha Rae Ratcliff. a director of the Ratcliff Group, based in Bessemer Road, has recently been made the first non-royal female master of the Worshipful Company of Carmen, a traditional guild for the road transport industry.

Marsha and her husband John sold their main business, which makes lifts to help disabled people into cars and mini-buses, in 2005.

It is now known as Palfinger Ratcliff, although still based in Bessemer Road.

The Ratcliff Group owns commercial property in Welwyn Garden City, and a subsidiary based in Hampshire, Wessex Lifts.

The float, designed to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Company’s charter, granted by King Henry VIII in 1517, featured images of buildings and bridges from the City of London’s history.

Marsha Rae was interviewed for BBC television, along with Graham Cole, an actor on The Bill who helped out in costume in the Company’s contribution to the parade.

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Although Marsha Rae is originally from the USA, she has been in Britain more than 40 years, living with John near Ware.

As well as their business activities, they have devoted a lot of time to good causes, particularly Variety, the Children’s Society.

She told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “It may have been a bit wet, but nothing was going to dampen the Carmen’s spirit.

“We had problems with the float and one of our horse for the horse-drawn omnibus became ill, all of which made people need to stay up all night to get things right.

“What a fantastic Carmen team. I am so very proud of them all.”