The month of November was one filled with hope following the announcement of several successful vaccines around the world, including the UK based Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The UK Government ordered 5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine in preparation for a mass roll out of the injections during December, with coronavirus vaccine centres being established throughout the UK. Additionally the Chancellor extended the furlough scheme to the end of March 2021 in recognition of the fact that measures to restrict business activities will remain in place for the next few months. The Government announced the end of lockdown from 2 December but with the introduction of "tougher" three-tiered regional measures being introduced until March 2021.
Overseas the big news was the election of Joe Biden as US President and his preparations for Office from January 2021.
In the City, all functions were cancelled, however, I did attend some wonderful online events, including a wonderful virtual musical concert put on by the pupils of Treloar's School. The pupils, who are all severely physically disabled, displayed their superb talents in playing a wonderful orchestral piece, facilitated by their most remarkable music teacher and a piece of very clever software (called Clarion) that enables even the most disabled pupil to play so beautifully. A truly wonderful event, hosted by the Lord Mayor.
Other events I have attended during November include a lecture on the sustainability of plastics by the Worshipful Company of Horners, a virtual tour of the Guildhall led by Murray Craig, the Clerk of the Chamberlain's Court, and a cheese and wine tasting evening, all very interesting, informative and fun events.
Our own Company also held a wonderful Magic Show at which Magic Circle member Alan Hudson amazed and amused us all. He is a very talented magician who makes his tricks come to life on the screen, plus he is very amusing.
I have continued to meet with the Wardens and Acting Clerk on a weekly basis via Zoom to discuss various Company issues, and the Strategic Review Steering Committee has soldiered on remarkably well considering the difficult circumstances of the lockdowns. The Chairman, Past Master David Szymanski, is putting the final touches on the report in preparation for presenting it to the next meeting of the Court on 17 December.
I also attended virtual meetings of the Craft Committee, Finance Committee and Communications Committee during the month.
I was very happy to pay a (real) visit to St Margaret Lothbury to meet with Jeremy Crossley the Reverend Prebendary, to commence planning for our virtual Christmas Carol Service which is being held virtually this year, for the first time, on Thursday 17th December at 6:00 pm. There are a lot of new logistics involved in setting up this annual service which we are all getting to grips with quickly. Luckily we have a great team of professionals in the Rector, Reverend Jeremy Crossley, Cliff Radmore (Pastoral Assistant and Service Pastor of St Margaret Lothbury), Richard Townend the Musical Director, and John Cook our Chaplain, who are getting on with making all the new arrangements for recording and broadcasting the service. This promises to be a wonderful evening which will enable us to celebrate Christmas together as we have done over the centuries, albeit in a slightly different format.