I extend warm Summer greetings to you all and I hope that everyone continues to be fit and well.
September has been an explosive month in terms of events and city functions. I feel that things are now back to almost normal in the Livery world and that of the Mayoralty.
Starting with the Covid-19 situation, there was good news as vaccination booster shots were agreed by the Government, on the advice of the JCVI, and the rollout has already started for the over 50s. Also, schools are preparing to arrange vaccinations for 12 to 15 year-olds. Although the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 is increasing, the good news is that the number of people with serious illness is not rising in line with infections – proof that the vaccines are having an impact.
The other wonderful news for this month was Emma Raducanu’s amazing win at the US Women’s Single Open – it gladdened the Nation’s hearts to see such a lovely young person achieve this well-deserved success.
Turning to the City and all matters Livery, what a month it has been! The month started brilliantly with a lovely lunch at Bakers Hall, as a guest of the Master of the Worshipful Company of Bakers, on the very first day of the month. This was followed, the next day with our fabulous Triennial Awards and luncheon at Apothecaries’ Hall. The presentation of the of the awards took place in the beautiful Parlour in front of all the winners and invited guests. Court Assistant David White had done a superb job of organising the event and making the presentations so successful, and I was really pleased to have Vicky Russell as my Principal Guest for the presentations as well as for lunch. What a fabulous event this was.
On Monday 6th I took part in a wonderful Zoom event in which City Guide Katie Wignall took us on a very interesting tour of Holborn, and the next day I attended a wonderful service at the Church of St Vedast-alias-Foster to celebrate the 650th Anniversary of the Worshipful Company of Fletchers. It was so nice to be able to don the Master’s Gown and Chain of Office to process in to the Church with my fellow Masters.
The very next day Maureen and I were delighted to attend the Summer Festival of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers at Salters’ Hall. This was a black-tie dinner with all the formalities of a lovely City event, wonderful.
And on Friday 10th we were guests of the Tile Association at their amazing Gala Awards Dinner. This took place in a huge marquee in the grounds of the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel and Country Club, and was a dazzling musical event. I had the pleasure of presenting one of the Awards, which was the icing on the cake. The Tile Association were wonderful hosts, putting us up at the hotel for the night. A delightful evening.
Following a short rest at the weekend, we were straight into more events. On Monday 13th I was at the first face to face meeting of my Past Masters’ Association, the Zoomers. Again, it was so nice to be able to see my fellow Committee Members properly for the first time rather than on a small screen. The meeting was followed by a super lunch at Ironmongers’ Hall.
The next day we made our way to Herefordshire for our long-awaited Craft Visit to Rowlands Roofing, followed by the delightful Banquet at Liveryman Brenda Upton-Kemp’s home. This was such a fantastic trip, three wonderful days of learning about one of our crafts, hands on experience, and great fellowship. What more could anyone want?
And the pace continued the following week! On Monday 20th Maureen and I were happy to join a small group of fellow Liverymen to carry out the annual silver cleaning at Carpenters’ Hall. This was organised by Silver Steward Martin Reading and we all worked hard to ensure a beautiful display of our Company Silver at the forthcoming Installation service. The cleaning was followed by a very nice lunch.
The next day, Tuesday 21st, I was up early and made my way to the Guildhall Yard where I had been invited to attend a photocall with the Lord Mayor to celebrate City Giving Day. It was so nice to see lots of people all dressed in red, celebrating this wonderful charitable event. At lunchtime I joined a small group of Tylers and Bricklayers and a number of Merchant Taylors for a guided City walk. It was fascinating to be taken around the upper walkways of the Barbican and to hear about the history of the area. In the evening I was at a Black-Tie event with the Lord Mayor at Mansion House, celebrating the huge success of the Big Curry Lunch, in the presence of TRH the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
On Thursday 23rd I was guest of the Master of the Worshipful Company of Masons for a wonderful luncheon at Cutlers’ Hall and on Friday I had the privilege of visiting one of the Triennial Award Winners to personally hand over the prize.
This week I have my final event, Common Hall, for the election of the Lord Mayor at Guildhall followed by lunch, which I am very much looking forward to. I hope to be able to process in to the Guildhall with all my fellow Masters for one last time.