Cadet Open Day

I was delighted to accept an invitation, along with Col. Ian Ogden our RE Liaison Officer, to join over 200 RE Army Cadets at the Open Day at Brompton Barracks, Chatham, particularly as our Charitable Trust had made a grant in support of the event.

The Cadets from London, Kent, South East and Suffolk were split into groups and made their way around three areas, RE Tradesmen, RE Capability and RE as a Soldier.

The RE Tradesmen was of particular interest as the Cadets were challenged to undertake some bricklaying. Using some smaller sized bricks and mortar they had to build a three level rectangle which had to be level and plumb. I suspect that the Cadets learned that bricklaying was not as easy as originally thought, but all groups had a go, and I was particularly pleased that Tunbridge School for Girls Grammar won the prize, which I was delighted to present.

The RE Capability took place at Upnor, where cadets had to take a chicken, fox and grain across water without the fox eating the chicken, and the chicken the grain! The poor “chicken” and “fox” looked a tad sunburnt by the time we saw them! In this same area I saw the work of the UXB officers and large Plant team

The RE Soldier section required the Cadets to complete an assault court, a climbing wall and command tasks.

All three sections required physical and mental stamina and I suspect there were some very tired Cadets at the end of the Day. At the Prize Giving there were awards for bricklaying (previously mentioned) and Capability.

I left the Barracks having had a great day and a smile on my sun-kissed face.

Business and Industry Dinner

I had received an invitation to attend the Business and Industry Dinner hosted by the Lord and Lady Mayoress at Mansion House a few weeks earlier and had not come across any other Master attending. As it turned out I was one of only four Masters attending the event, so it was a real honour to be able to represent the construction industry.

The seating plan had put me alongside some former colleagues in the industry so I was able to catch up on all matters relating to the sector, and rather sadly, listen to news of the Grenfell Inquiry.

The principal guest of the evening was Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy. Also making a speech was the Director General of the CBI who spoke passionately on behalf of UK plc on the subject of Brexit encouraging the Government to finalise the matter as soon as possible.

Freedom of the City

I was delighted to be able to attend the ceremony at Guildhall in which John Gorman was made a Freeman of the City of London along with our Learned Clerk John Brooks.

It is such a special occasion, especially when Murray Craig officiates. Once the formal part of the Ceremony was over Murray congratulated John and told a number of stories involving other newly made Freemen, such as Ken Dodd.

After the ceremony we joined John’s family for a delightful lunch in nearby restaurant.

Worshipful Company of Launderers

I had been a little surprised to receive an invitation to join the Worshipful Company of Launderers for their Annual Banquet at Drapers’ Hall.

On arriving all was revealed as Master Forbes MacDougall explained that, as the Launderers were about to support a student at Christ’s Hospital, he felt it important to invite the Masters of Companies who already supported students at this wonderful school.

I was delighted to be seated alongside Master Cook, Needlemaker and Carmen, and so was able to exchange news and views on our lives as Master.

Entertainment for the evening was provided by three students from Christs’ Hospital, a singer, violinist and saxophonist, and I sat in awe as I listened to their musical talents.