Welcome to the December Newsletter. Livery activity comes to a halt after each Company has held its carol service, so there are fewer events to report this month.
For the first few days of the month I escaped to the north Lakes, near Keswick, and so managed to miss the foot of snow that paralysed the Windermere area for a couple of days. In the north we had a centimetre on the ground, making the landscape look beautiful without stopping the traffic. I got up in the hills and then came down very carefully, with icy conditions and no crampons.
The next T&B engagement was on 6 December when I had planned to attend the Masons’ Awards – similar to our Craft Awards – being presented by the Duke of Gloucester. Aslef intervened and I was stuck in Hampshire so made a quick phone call to Deputy Master John Schofield. John lives in Blackheath and has several options for travel to London, so he deputised at short notice and enjoyed a visit to Mercers’ Hall. I am grateful to John for moving so fast.
On 8 December I made my way to the station and then Mansion House. The Lord Mayor hosted afternoon tea for the winners of awards from the Lord Mayor’s 800th Anniversary Awards Trust. The Trust was set up in 1989 in order to encourage young people aged 17 to 24 to travel overseas and do something challenging or worthwhile.Anyone can apply for a grant, including friends or family of Liverymen, so if you know of a young person plotting a trip or a gap year, encourage them to ask for a grant. The winners at the tea included a young woman who had climbed several challenging peaks in Kurdistan; a young man who had spent six months in Ghana, nominally teaching English but expanding his role to include maths, sciences, vegetable gardening, theatre and football coaching; and a young woman who led a team of marine biologists underwater studying how scuba diving affects the behaviour of a particular species of fish. Somewhat counter-intuitively, the conclusion was that this particular species values the variety and novelty, and the shoal clustered around each morning to greet the divers.
The next task was finalising preparations for the Court meeting, Carol Service and Supper. Each event has a different cast list and different documentation, from Court papers to orders of service and pew markers, so there is a lot to be done. At the Court meeting we advanced Phil Pinto and Ed Renwick to the Livery.
We welcomed Rachel Malpass-Brown as a Freeman and granted the status of Honorary Liveryman to our Beadle of 14 years, David Wylie.
David has decided to retire from beadling for the Ts and Bs and at the Supper, I was able to thank David for all his hard work and enthusiasm since 2009. On behalf of the Company I presented David with a decanter and some glasses. David’s family were at the Supper in Armourers’ Hall and we look forward to seeing him at our events in the future as a Liveryman.
The main business of the Court meeting was the establishment of a separate limited company to take over responsibility for organising our events. The reasons for this are explained in my attached note. My thanks to Past Masters Michel Saminaden, Tom Rider and Simon Martin, and Court Assistant Tom Christopherson, who provided a great deal of pro bono advice in order to devise a way forward and then implement it.
If any member of the Company has questions about the new arrangements, then please feel free to contact me or the Clerk.
The Carol Service was well attended and the congregation sang loudly for their carols. The Lothbury Singers, directed by Richard Townend, were on excellent form and the Hon Chaplain gave a thought-provoking address. For many of us the T&B service is the official start of Christmas!
We then walked to Armourers’ Hall, which has been refurbished recently and is looking magnificent, for a buffet supper and some fine wines. The hall was full to capacity and members lingered on for some time after the ‘Carriages’ hour, providing a fitting end to a very enjoyable 2023.
See you in the New Year!
PS. You still have a few days to send your photographs to Ian Wilson and win some champagne. Close of the Photographic Competition is 31 December but Ian has kindly granted a short extension to 12 January. The original notice with all the details is sent to you again