Maureen and I were delighted to be invited to join the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs and many other Masters to visit the wonderful Treloar's School and College today.
Treloar's is one of the UK's leading centres of excellence for children and young people with complex physical disabilities. They offer outstanding teaching, professional care, therapy, advice and guidance so that every individual can live, learn, achieve and work towards a future that is as independent as possible. There are some 170 students aged 2 to 25 years and they are cared for and supported by around 800 staff, including teachers, support and care staff, therapists, medical staff, dietitians, visual impairment advisers, counsellors, transition staff, assistive technology technicians and engineers.
The students are contending with the most complex physical disabilities that make it impossible to attend mainstream schools and colleges. Treloar's offers these students the best possible life chances by giving them a wonderful educational experience and also by helping them to transition to the world of work and independent living.
The day commenced with a short talk by the Chief Executive and the Principal, after which we were split into small groups led by a staff member. Each group was taken to a classroom that was in session and we were encouraged to mix with the students and interact with them. My group was introduced to a small class of 6 /7 year olds who enthusiastically welcomed us and were eager to share their lessons with us. It was a joy to learn how to interact with these students, each in their own unique way, using amazing technology. We then went into their garden which is full of fun equipment which the students clearly love playing with.
At the end of each lesson the students earn "golden time" for 10 minutes in which they can choose their own activity. It was truly uplifting and awe inspiring to see the wonderful care and love given by every single member of staff, and it being reciprocated by the students. The whole group left the classroom feeling huge admiration for the work being carried out with these great students.
We were also taken to visit the residential accommodation and taken round by the Residential Manager who has been working for Treloar's for 32 years. She was equally enthusiastic to share her experiences with us and it was plainly obvious that she loves her job and is completely dedicated to the students.
After this amazing tour we were taken to the main hall which had been laid out beautifully for lunch which consisted of a very nice chicken cacciatore and rice with vegetables followed by a fruit tarte and coffee. The Lord Mayor made a short speech thanking the wonderful staff of Treloar's for all their dedicated work and also for the excellent lunch.
After lunch we were treated to a performance of Midsummer Night's Dream by Treloar's 6th form students which was, again, truly inspirational. The enthusiasm of the students and their teachers and helpers was brilliant and we were all entertained brilliantly.
The day ended with tea and cakes and more chatting and mingling with the staff and students. We all left having had a wonderful experience and feeling truly uplifted by the enthusiasm and dedication of both the students and staff.
Today I attended another meeting of the Treasures Committee, chaired by Court Assistant Tom Christopherson. The venue for the meeting was, once again, the home of Past Master Roger Westbrook, a beautiful appartement in the environs of the Palace of Westminster and we are very grateful to Roger for his kindness in letting us use his home for this purpose.
There was a very full agenda and discussions were held about the arrangements for transporting the new centrepiece to different venues and the cleaning of the Company silverware. We also discussed the proposal from Doerr Valuation to value the various Masters and Wardens Medals (Jewels) and other items of value belonging to the Company and the logistics of accomplishing this rather complex task. Past Master Roger Westbrook revealed the replacement Renter Warden's Medal, which looked rather splendid. It was agreed that this would be presented to the Company at the next meeting of the Court. Upper Warden Simon Martin informed the Committee that he and Past Master David Szymanski had visited the family of Past Master Moreland Percival who had generously agreed to allow the Company to have the Past Master's Badge of Office on a long term loan. The family members have been invited to the Annual Dinner to present the badge to the Master. The Chairman updated members about the blue plaque and the proposal to have a T&B cabinet at the Guildhall Members' Club to display some of our best silverware.
Our host, Past Master Roger Westbrook ended the meeting by opening an excellent bottle of white wine supplied generously by the Chairman, which the committee members enjoyed whilst continuing discussions.
Another very productive T&B meeting.
Today I attended three meetings of the Company, all at the HQ of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors in Worship Street, EC2. Our grateful thanks our extended to the NFRC for allowing us to use their offices for our meetings.
The first meeting was of the Nominations Committee, at 11:00 am. This Committee comprises the Master, Wardens, Renter Warden in Nomination, two Past Masters and the Clerk and its purpose is to choose future Deputy Masters, Wardens, Court Assistants, Committee Chairmen, Stewards and other leading members of the Company, for recommendation to the Court. Following intensive discussion and debate a whole raft of names was agreed by the Committee for passing on to the Court for agreement. The next meeting was of the Master and Wardens to discuss several matters of administration and future event planning.
Following a very nice buffet lunch generously provided by Liveryman Frank Clarke, the third meeting was of the Craft Committee, chaired by Renter Warden in Nomination Chris Causer. Several important items of business were discussed including the Craft Awards, the Triennial Awards, the Craft Visit and the No Going Back Initiative. The way forward was agreed on many items of business, with the various Liverymen volunteering readily to take on tasks. It was a real pleasure to see this important Committee in action, with all members contributing fully to the debates and discussions.
Tonight Maureen and I were honoured to be guests of the Master of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects at their Royal Charter Banquet. This was a very splendid affair held at The Mansion House for which all guests were invited to wear formal evening attire (white tie for men and evening gowns for ladies).
We were greeted on arrival by our own Past Master David Cole-Adams, and Mary, who took us up the wonderful staircase, flanked by the Sea Cadets and Pikemen, to be introduced to the Master and Wardens and supplied with a very welcome glass of champagne.
We were delighted to be greeted by our own Beadle as well, David Wylie, who made us feel very much at home. We then met several other Past Master Architects and were delighted to be introduced to His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, The Rt. Hon The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, and the Sheriffs and their Ladies. We had some very pleasant conversation after which we were called to line up for photographs around the wonderful Royal Charter.
Following the photograph session, we proceeded to take our seats for dinner. Once again, Maureen and I were honoured to be seated at the Top Table with all the other Principal Guests.
Proceedings commenced with a short welcome to all by the Master and an official welcome to the principal guests by the Upper Warden. Grace then followed by The Reverend Canon David Parrott, The Chaplain to the Company, after which we commenced dining with a wonderful starter of treacle cured salmon, avrugar caviar and beetroot pickled quail's egg, followed by a main course of beef fillet, cottage pie croquette with vegetables, and a dessert of caramelised apple, hazelnut and mascarpone tart with apple and calvados sauce, truly delightful. The food was accompanied by Le Pionnier Blanc and Rouge with a Taylor's late-bottled vintage port.
Dinner was accompanied by beautiful music from the Elysium Brass, an award winning brass quintet formed from alumni of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Following the Loyal Toasts by the Master, the response was given by the Right Honourable The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman William Russell. His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester then officially presented the Royal Charter to the Company to the background of the Temple Bar Fanfare played by Elysium Brass.
The Master ended the evening by thanking everyone for their attendance and inviting all guests to a stirrup cup before their journeys home. Another wonderful evening, this time with a Royal touch.
It was a great pleasure to attend the London Air Ambulance Winter Reception at the Royal College of Pathologists this evening. I was pleased to see several Masters of other Worshipful Companies who I have got to know over the past few months. We were greeted with wine and canapés and introduced to several of the doctors and paramedics who carry out such vitally important work on London's streets. We also had the opportunity to interact with several "Innovation Stations" where there were new clinical projects on display showcasing the future of pre-hospital care.
The "every Second Counts" stand outlined the new ways that traumatic brain injury in children can be treated at the scene by using cutting-edge dispatch technology in the London Ambulance Service control room and paramedics using 999 callers’ mobile phone cameras to get footage from serious incidents before they arrive on the scene.
There were also other amazing new advances in technologies such as freezing patients at the roadside to stop them bleeding (the Golden Hour Project), and a technology called Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO). This effectively replaces the function of the heart and lungs, by taking blood out of the body, adding oxygen, and returning it under pressure. This has resulted in increased survival rates without brain damage.
I was very impressed by the dedication and skills shown by all the London Ambulance staff and all the fantastic innovation on display. I left the event feeling even more confident that Londoners can feel very safe in the capable hands of the wonderful London Air Ambulance Service.