I extend warm Spring greetings to all and hope that everyone continues to be fit and well.
The month of April passed very quickly with continuing good news on the Covid-19 front. The NHS vaccination programme has moved on apace with 36 million people having received the first vaccination and some 18 million the second. This is a great achievement and the results are beginning to show with decreasing numbers of people catching the virus, being hospitalised and, sadly, losing their lives. The country is slowly beginning to return to some sort of normality, which we are all looking forward to.
Turning to other, non-Covid matters in April, the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was held in Windsor Castle. It was a wonderful event held on a beautifully sunny day and reflected the respect felt for the Duke of Edinburgh by the nation.
Two other important events in April that deserve mention, for very different reasons, are, the quashing of convictions of 39 former Postmasters by the Court of Appeal after "one of the UK's most widespread miscarriages of justice", and the short-lived European Football Super League disaster!
In the City, the Zoom meetings continue to take place on a regular basis, making our diaries fairly busy. However, I have heard several people saying that they are beginning to feel a bit "zoomed out" and are now ready to start meeting in person again. Hopefully this will happen in the very near future - plans are afoot in the Tylers and Bricklayers and many other Livery Companies.
I met with the Lord Mayor for a coffee morning, which was very convivial, and also attended several online events and tours, including a tour of Charles Dickens' City of London, a Jack the Ripper Tour and a tour of Goldsmiths' Hall and its wonderful treasures. There was also a fascinating and entertaining talk given by Alexandra Hayward, Sheriff's Consort, whose City of London career started as a Nurse at Barts’ Hospital in 1983, through to family life and living in the Old Bailey.
I continue to meet with the Wardens and Clerk on a regular basis to discuss Company business and make plans for the future. I attended meetings of the Communications Committee and the Almoner's Support Group and also interviewed two new candidates for admission to the Company.
It is very pleasing to be able to report that we are now fully booked for the Masters' and Clerks' luncheon being held at Trinity House on Tuesday 22nd June. I am really looking forward to this opportunity for us to get together face to face after such a long time - the last T&B event we held "in reality" was the Craft Awards on 5th March 2020. So this is going to be a fantastic occasion for all of us and our guests.