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.
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.
Tonight it was my pleasure to chair the annual meeting of Common Hall at Cutlers' Hall. Common Hall is, effectively, the Company's AGM, where all liverymen are invited to attend. This is the main opportunity for liverymen to discuss any matters they wish to raise with the Master, Wardens, Court Assistants and their fellow liverymen.
Proceedings commenced with the Company Prayer, after which the Upper Warden reported on the Company Accounts and Finances and Hon. Secretary to the Trustees, Court Assistant Alan Dodd reported on the finances of the Charitable Trusts. It was very pleasing to see the accounts for the year just closed being presented to Common Hall and the Upper Warden was congratulated for making this happen for the first time in many years. Common Hall noted the healthy financial position of the Company and the Charitable Trusts and thanks were extended to all involved in maintaining this position.
It was noted that the Charity of the Year for 2019/20 was YouthBuildUK and the voting process for the Charity of the Year 2020/21 was outlined by Court Assistant Alan Dodd.
The three new Court Assistants, Tom Christopherson, Alan Dodd and David White introduced themselves to their fellow liverymen, givng a short resumé of themselves. Past Master David Szymanski gave an update on the Strategic Review and Past Master Piers Nicholson updated Common Hall on his new Heritage Sun Dial Project in Fleet Street.
Following an open forum for discussion there was a champagne reception with canapés prior to dinner.
As has become the custom, the seating was allocated to ensure that all Liverymen were given the opportunity to meet with Members of the Court. We started with smoked salmon, atlantic prawns and crême fraiche, followed by Fillet Steak Waterloo with paté and vegetables and vanilla panna cotta for dessert. The Chairman of the Wine Committee had reserved some extra special red wines for us tonight, which were much appreciated by all.
I was pleased to announce the winner of the poll for Charity of the Year 2020/21, which was St Edmunds, an educational establishment that provides vocational training for young people excluded from mainstream education.
We all retired downstairs for a stirrup cup, coffee and cheese and more good fellowship to end another wonderful Tyler and Bricklayer event.
Maureen and I were honoured to attend the service of memorial and thanksgiving for the life of Ros Rogerson, wife of Liveryman Peter Rogerson OBE.
The service was held in a beautiful church in Wakefield which was completely packed out with friends and family, all there to celebrate the life of a truly lovely person. There were several very moving and sometimes comical eulogies given by close friends and it was obvious to see that Ros was well loved by so many people.
Following the service we all went to Peter's beautiful home, a converted barn, for drinks, food and to share more memories with Peter and his lovely family.
Maureen and I were truly honoured to attend this service on behalf of our Worshipful Company.
I was delighted to be invited, to a special Civic Dinner, by the Chief Commoner tonight. This was a very small, intimate dinner hosted by the Chief Commoner and Remembrancer, in the Chief Commoner's Parlour.
On arrival at Guildhall I was escorted to the Art Gallery where our hosts were waiting to welcome the guests with a glass or two of champagne. I joined the small group which included Liveryman and Past Sheriff Dr Christine Rigden and Liveryman His Honour John Bevan QC.
I was introduced to several other guests who came from various different professions and backgrounds, which I found most interesting. At 7.15 pm we made our way to the Chief Commoner's Parlour for dinner, a beautiful room with a magnificent vaulted ceiling.
Following grace we all sat down to enjoy an extremely delicious meal, starting with a beautiful Scottish Spider Crab with Halibut, Lobster and Sea Bass, followed by Roast Loin of Highland Venison with Organic Vegetables and Bryon Potatoes. For dessert we were treated to a wonderful Baby Pineapple Crème Brûlée with a Piña Colada Shot and Coconut Ice Cream, truly delightful. All accompanied by some excellent wines.
To make things more interesting, we all changed places after the main course which gave everyone the opportunity to talk to and get to know more guests. This worked very well indeed. Following dinner, and the Loyal Toasts, the Chief Commoner and Remembrancer both gave brief and interesting speeches about their positions in the City of London.
The evening ended with a delightful performance by Cellist Benedict Swindells of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. An excellent ending to yet another wonderful evening.