After the Annual Banquet, my diary has been packed with a vast array of different events. Here are some of the highlights.
On 10 May, I attended the Festival of the Sons of the Clergy service at St.Paul’s, together with the Masters of many other livery companies, and afterwards joined Past Master David Wright at the dinner for the stewards at Merchant Taylors’ Hall. Over the following week, I attended a concert given by the Royal Choral Society in honour of the Duke of Kent’s 80th birthday, presented a cheque to Rokeby School as a contribution towards an exchange with a school in Ghana and collected for the Red Cross on London Bridge.
Again, there were a number of interesting lectures held in the City, including the Playing Cards’ Company lecture ‘The fascinating world of playing cards’, the Marketors’ Company lecture given by Sir Ian Cheshire at the Shard, the Glass Sellers’ lecture commemorating the Great Fire and the Architects’ Company Milo Lecture ‘The Leadenhall Building and the future towers in the City’, given in the Leadenhall building and a fascinating insight into the future skyline of London.
On 20 May I travelled to Sheffield for the Northern Liverymen Brigantes Breakfast at Cutlers’ Hall – a very grand occasion attended by many liverymen from the south of England including several from our own company.
On 24 May, I had the pleasure of attending one of Her Majesty The Queen’s Buckingham Palace Garden Parties with my consort Roger. What a wonderful afternoon we had walking around the gardens and enjoying tea in the beautiful sunshine!
On 27 May, I attended the ICSA Graduation and Membership ceremony at Merchant Taylors’ Hall. It was very pleasing to see so many talented young people joining our profession.
During June and July, I had the pleasure of attending the lunches or dinners of a number of other livery companies: the Carmen, the Weavers, the International Bankers, the Firefighters, the Bakers, the Drapers and the Management Consultants. At Bakers’ Hall, the dinner was interspersed with pieces by ‘Samuel Pepys’ and his company remembering the Great Fire of London. In June, I joined the Masters of other Livery Companies for a weekend at Ironbridge and a tour of our Industrial Revolution heritage.
I made a number of visits to HM Forces’ establishments: I visited RAF Cranwell for the Queen’s Birthday Reception, the Royal Naval Logistics Branch Dinner at HMS Collingwood, presented awards on behalf of the Company at HMS Raleigh at Torpoint and attended a reception at HMS Odiham.
On 24 June I attended Common Hall for the election of the Sheriffs and on 29 September will again be at Common Hall for the election of the Lord Mayor. What a privilege it is to process through the Guildhall with the masters of all the other livery companies to attend these ceremonies.
After the summer break, my diary is again very full. On 14 September, it was a joy to host the Past Masters’ Lunch and enjoy the company of many of my predecessors, their wives and the widows of two of our distinguished Past Masters. The following day, together with the Junior Warden, I joined the Masters and Wardens of many other livery companies for the Livery Halls’ Walk – a tour of 40 livery halls, 9 miles with welcome stops for breakfast, coffee, lunch and other refreshments!
It is not long now before I step down as Master but before I do, I will be going to the Sheriffs’ Ball at the Guildhall, driving sheep over London Bridge among other events and the normal round of meetings.
We have of course, enjoyed the Master’s weekend in Cambridge in June and the Annual Church Service and Charter Lunch at Skinners Hall in July. There are photos of these two events under the ‘News’ section.
Life continues apace and I cannot believe that I am more than half way through my year as Master!
One of my first engagements in February, was a visit with the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress to Treloar’s College for disabled students in Alton in Hampshire. Treloar’s supports some of the UK’s most vulnerable children and young adults. The work done by the staff at Treloar’s is hugely impressive and supported by many of the City Livery companies. Each year, a dinner is held at the Mansion House in aid of this charity and I had the pleasure of attending this event last November as a guest of one of our Past Masters.
The spring and early summer are popular seasons for lectures for Livery companies and other City organisations. Our own Rivers Lecture on 17 March at Stationers’ Hall was very successful and well attended. Dr.Karl Mackie CBE, chief executive of the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, delivered a most interesting and thought provoking lecture entitled ‘Tough talk – mediating business strife’.
I also attended a number of other annual lectures. At the Educators’ Company lecture, Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary, talked on the subject of ‘A world class education system with ambition for every child’. At the World Traders’ Lecture at the Guildhall, Sir Paul Tucker, formerly Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, talked about ‘A New International Monetary System in a new world order’. The City of London Tour Guides Association staged a lecture given by Sharon Ament, a director of the Museum of London on the fascinating topic of ‘Busting the myths; the Great Fire of London’. The Security Professionals arranged for Hagai M Segal, a leading academic specialising in the Middle East, to talk about ‘How Geopolitics is Redefining the National and Transnational Security and Economic Environment’. The Air Pilots’ Company lecture was given by Tracey Curtis-Taylor who flew her open-cockpit plane to Australia and gave a talk entitled ‘Bird-in-a-Biplane. Inspired by Amy Johnson’.
I have attended a number of other events as a guest of other Livery companies. In February, I was a guest at the Arbitrators’ Court Luncheon at Cutlers’ Hall. In March, I joined the Tax Advisers at their Budget Banquet at Vintners’ Hall, the Builders Merchants for their City and Awards Lunch at Saddlers’ Hall and in April, the Information Technologists’ Dinner and the Tylers’ and Bricklayers’ 600th Anniversary Concert at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
A very special event was the Lord Mayor’s Banquet for the Masters of the Livery Companies on 11 March at Mansion House, followed the next day by the United Guilds Service in St. Paul’s Cathedral.
On the education front, I attended the ICSA Annual Conference at the Excel Centre on 8 March when, following an invitation from our Company, Dame Fiona Woolf, Lord Mayor in 2013-14, gave the keynote address.
I also visited Rokeby School and enjoyed a tour of the school led by two very enthusiastic pupils.
I attended the Livery Showcase event, aimed at young people and students, at the Guildhall on 15 March where many Livery companies were demonstrating their professions and apprenticeships . This was followed on 21 March by a networking event at the Guildhall organised by the City of London Corporation, which launched a new initiative ‘The City’s business: helping young Londoners towards and into employment’. This initiative takes the form of an appeal to City businesses to assist young unemployed people with providing apprenticeships, internships and work experience.
We continue to have close associations with all three of the Armed Forces and present a number of prizes for the top performing officers and servicemen and women on their initial training courses for administration and logistics. In April, I had the honour of attending the Lord High Admiral’s Passing Out Parade at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth when the David Marwood prize was presented to Sub Lieutenant Andrew Pandyan by HRH The Princess Royal.
The highlight of our year is the Annual Banquet which was held on 5 May at Mansion House. It was a splendid evening attended by Lord Mayor Locum Tenens Alderman Alan Yarrow and Sheriff Christine Rigden. The principal guest and speaker was Sir Michael Rake, Chairman of BT Group plc. We were entertained by the British State Trumpeters of Thames Fanfare Brass and by singers and a pianist from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
And a final word about a couple of great events organised by the Livery Liaison Group. In March we enjoyed a tour of the Wallace Collection followed by a delicious afternoon tea and on 21 April we were entertained at a French Cultural Evening at 22 Mansfield Street.
The Master’s Diary
Since becoming Master last October, I feel as I have been on a roller coaster, going from one engagement to the next. Here are just a few highlights.
My very first engagement on 19 October was at Worthy Down when I presented five silver medals to Army and RAF personnel in their administrative branches for the best performance on their respective training courses. The next day, I went to see the West Ham Sea Cadets Royal Navy Parade. What a pleasure it was to see this group of young people taking part in the parade with such enthusiasm!
The following day, I was off to RNAS Yeovilton to present the Durban Prize to Lieutenant Tristan Rowan who had achieved distinction in the Military Aviation Studies degree programme.
Other engagements in October included the service of commemoration of the Battle of Agincourt at Westminster Abbey which I attended together with the Masters of many other City Livery Companies; the Arts’ Scholars’ Annual Mithras Lecture when we enjoyed a lecture about Art Crime; and the Actuaries’ Company Dinner on board HQS Wellington.
November was full of exciting and interesting events too. It started with the Garden of Remembrance Service at St. Paul’s Cathedral when I planted a poppy on behalf of the Company alongside the Masters of the other livery companies. I attended the Horners’ Company Annual Lecture when Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff CBE delivered a lecture entitled ‘Creativity, innovation and education for the 21st century’ – a most amusing and interesting lecture given in language which was easy for the layman to understand! I also attended the Actuaries’ lecture when David Willetts talked about ‘The Baby Boomers and their pensions’, a fascinating talk about the distribution of wealth in modern Britain.
I attended the Silent Ceremony at the Guildhall for the admission of the Lord Mayor, the day before the Lord Mayor’s Show when we joined the Ward of Cheap Club and many other livery companies on a float depicting Cheapside as a market place since 1215. A full article is in the latest edition of Integrity.
December included a concert and supper at Mercers’ Hall, the glittering ICSA Awards Dinner at the London Hilton Hotel and our Carol Service with the Ward of Cheap Club and the Educators’ Company at the Church of St. Vedast alias Foster. My last engagement of 2015 was lunch with Sheriff Christine Rigden and the judges at the Old Bailey – an insight into the world of crime and punishment.
2016 started with the City New Year service at St. Michael’s Cornhill followed shortly afterwards by lunch with the Horners, dinner with the Chartered Accountants and the Installation Dinner of the Marketors.
I had the pleasure of representing the Company at the London South Bank University Prize Giving when Ruth Sutton was the recipient of our prize for best student on the MSc Corporate Governance course. A few days later, I was a guest at the City University graduation ceremony when the current Lord Mayor, the Lord Mountevans was installed as Chancellor. Our connection with City University is the annual award of the Dennis Glover Memorial Prize for the best student in Company law.
At the beginning of February, I attended the Lady Masters’ Association Dinner at the House of Lords – a great event and an opportunity to meet some very impressive ladies.
And so it continues …
Finally, I would like to mention some of our own events. The Livery Liaison Group have organised several events and I joined the visit to the BBC which included a role in our very own radio play! At the end of January, at our annual Livery Lunch was held in the magnificent surroundings of Grocers’ Hall. George Littlejohn from the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment was our speaker and Past Master Colonel Mike Dudding presented the Richard Sermon Prize to Flight Lieutenant Nicholas Justice for making the most outstanding contribution in an operational environment.
And of course, there is the normal round of Court meetings, Committee meetings, informal meetings …