Cadet Open Day

I was delighted to accept an invitation, along with Col. Ian Ogden our RE Liaison Officer, to join over 200 RE Army Cadets at the Open Day at Brompton Barracks, Chatham, particularly as our Charitable Trust had made a grant in support of the event.

The Cadets from London, Kent, South East and Suffolk were split into groups and made their way around three areas, RE Tradesmen, RE Capability and RE as a Soldier.

The RE Tradesmen was of particular interest as the Cadets were challenged to undertake some bricklaying. Using some smaller sized bricks and mortar they had to build a three level rectangle which had to be level and plumb. I suspect that the Cadets learned that bricklaying was not as easy as originally thought, but all groups had a go, and I was particularly pleased that Tunbridge School for Girls Grammar won the prize, which I was delighted to present.

The RE Capability took place at Upnor, where cadets had to take a chicken, fox and grain across water without the fox eating the chicken, and the chicken the grain! The poor “chicken” and “fox” looked a tad sunburnt by the time we saw them! In this same area I saw the work of the UXB officers and large Plant team

The RE Soldier section required the Cadets to complete an assault court, a climbing wall and command tasks.

All three sections required physical and mental stamina and I suspect there were some very tired Cadets at the end of the Day. At the Prize Giving there were awards for bricklaying (previously mentioned) and Capability.

I left the Barracks having had a great day and a smile on my sun-kissed face.

Business and Industry Dinner

I had received an invitation to attend the Business and Industry Dinner hosted by the Lord and Lady Mayoress at Mansion House a few weeks earlier and had not come across any other Master attending. As it turned out I was one of only four Masters attending the event, so it was a real honour to be able to represent the construction industry.

The seating plan had put me alongside some former colleagues in the industry so I was able to catch up on all matters relating to the sector, and rather sadly, listen to news of the Grenfell Inquiry.

The principal guest of the evening was Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy. Also making a speech was the Director General of the CBI who spoke passionately on behalf of UK plc on the subject of Brexit encouraging the Government to finalise the matter as soon as possible.

Freedom of the City

I was delighted to be able to attend the ceremony at Guildhall in which John Gorman was made a Freeman of the City of London along with our Learned Clerk John Brooks.

It is such a special occasion, especially when Murray Craig officiates. Once the formal part of the Ceremony was over Murray congratulated John and told a number of stories involving other newly made Freemen, such as Ken Dodd.

After the ceremony we joined John’s family for a delightful lunch in nearby restaurant.

Worshipful Company of Launderers

I had been a little surprised to receive an invitation to join the Worshipful Company of Launderers for their Annual Banquet at Drapers’ Hall.

On arriving all was revealed as Master Forbes MacDougall explained that, as the Launderers were about to support a student at Christ’s Hospital, he felt it important to invite the Masters of Companies who already supported students at this wonderful school.

I was delighted to be seated alongside Master Cook, Needlemaker and Carmen, and so was able to exchange news and views on our lives as Master.

Entertainment for the evening was provided by three students from Christs’ Hospital, a singer, violinist and saxophonist, and I sat in awe as I listened to their musical talents.

Qualifying the workforce

Craft Committee Chairman, Chris Causer, and I attended a meeting at City & Guilds to learn of a potential Professional Recognition Awards programme taking newly trained and working craftsmen a step forward into management.

C&G propose a programme of four levels (4-7) with six standards that have to be met; commitment to industry standards, commitment to communication and information management, leadership, professional development and working with other.

The programme would be open to anyone qualified or not who wish to progress into management and senior management.

Our Craft Committee will be asked to consider whether this would be of interest, before discussion with our related trade associations.

Barts Charity View Day

A sung evensong took place in St Batholomew’s the Great Church, the oldest church in the City of London. The stone built church resonated to the beautiful singing of the choir, with prayers and sermon from the Rev’d Professsor Sandra Eldridge.

After the service the Masters processed to the Great Hall of St Bartholomew’s Hospital to learn more about View Day, which dates back to the Easter services held in Spitalfields in the Middle ages and were intended to draw attention to the London hospitals and encourage the public to offer financial support.

The modern View Day offered a similar opportunity for the Masters of the City of London.

Our Annual Livery Dinner

Several years ago I attended a meeting at Clothworkers’ Hall and was taking on a short tour afterwards and to see the beautiful Caged Bird Tapestry which had recently been installed in the Livery Hall. I knew then that, if it were possible, that I should like to hold an event there during my year as Master, and thankfully it proved possible.

The history buffs in the Ts &Bs will know of the connection between the two Liveries as Tyler and Bricklayer Sir Samuel Fludyer was Lord Mayor of London, and in those days in order to do so had also to be a member of one of the Great Twelve. Sir Samuel is remembered in a window in the Livery Hall.

As Master you get to chose the entertainment for the evening I was particularly delighted that Guildhall School of Music and Drama Student Michael Poll was able to play the classical guitar for the guests. I had asked if he could include some pieces by Brazilian guitarist Roberto Baden Powell to remind me of my childhood in Brazil, and this he was able to do.

Our principal guest for the evening was Sheriff Liz Green and her husband Peter, along with Master Chartered Architect and Master Builders Merchant and their consorts. Some personal friends were also able to join us to enjoy this very special occasion in the Master’s year.

With one exception (the missing menus!), all arrangements went well and I thorough enjoyed the evening alongside the 150 guests.

I shall remember the evening with fondness for many years to come.

Excellence in Roofing

I was invited to attend the 2019 Roofing Awards at the Intercontinental Hotel, North Greenwich and had the pleasure of meeting many people from the roofing sector.

Eighteen awards were made, ranging fom Young Roofer of the Year, to Local Hero, Heritage Roofing to small and large scale projects.

Roof of the year was won by Richardson Roofing for Ludgate House which had a bespoke curved zinc roof that had transformed a dated livery yard into a new home.

It is such a pleasure to see all that is great in the construction industry.

Dining with the Spectacle Makers

Some dear friends invited Malcolm and I to join them for the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers Annual Dinner at the spectacular Goldsmith’s Hall.

Whilst I was an “incognito” Master on this occasion, it was a pleasure to meet Master Spectacle Maker and his Wardens before sitting down to eat in the magnificent Hall. It turned out that opposite me was Spectacle Maker Simon Bartley who I knew better as the Chairman of World Skills and had met a few months previously to discuss the Company’s support of the UK team at World Skills.

Simon was able to confirm that all arrangements for the World Competition were going well and I hoped that the two competitors representing wall and floor tiling, and bricklaying would do well at the competition in August.

Founders Day at the City of London Girls School

I had accepted an invitation to join the girls of the City of London Girls School Founders Day with ease, after all the school had been founded by Tyler and Bricklayer William Ward, great great grandfather of Past Master Nicholas Ward, some 125 years ago.

The Speaker addressing the girls was none other than “Malala’s father” (his words not mine) Ziauddin Yousafzai.  He explained that he came from a patriarchal family where his 5 sisters did not receive the same education or freedom of choice as him, but when he married, he did so for love.  He and his wife set up a school for girls and boys in Pakistan to provide an education. When the Taliban took power in the area, they decreed that girls should not be educated and Malala spoke out against this and was shot in the head.

After she recovered from the dreadful injuries, she sustained she and her father set up the Malala Fund, a charity aiming to give every girl in the world the opportunity to have 12 years of education and have the freedom to chose what to do with her life.

As I sat listening to this story, I could not help but think how fortunate I and every other girl and women in the room were to have had a full education and a life of our own choosing.  

Youthbuild UK Patrons Evening

Malcolm and I, and Deputy Master Jeff and Catherine Fuller were delighted to accept an invitation to the Patrons Evening of Youthbuild UK in the beautiful River Room of the House of Lords.

The occasion was to thank the organisations who support this well deserving charity, and which will be our Charity of the Year for the Livery year 2019-2020.  

Amongst the speakers was Zinnia Coleman who had won the 2018 Youthbuild UK Award, a young lady whose story I have told several times before.  

 

Catherine and I had the chance to talk to Zinnia and we both congratulated her on overcoming all the difficulties in the early part of her life.  Zinnia told me that once she had achieved her NVQ in painting and decorating she will be continuing with her current employers, and she hopes to go on to support other young people who have had difficult times.  

At occasions such as these I am reminded that there are some very special inspirational young people in the UK who deserve to be recognised.

Dining with the Spectacle Makers

Some dear friends invited Malcolm and I to join them for the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers Annual Dinner at the spectacular Goldsmith’s Hall.

Whilst I was an “incognito” Master on this occasion, it was a pleasure to meet Master Spectacle Maker and his Wardens before sitting down to eat in the magnificent Hall. It turned out that opposite me was Spectacle Maker Simon Bartley who I knew better as the Chairman of World Skills and had met a few months previously to discuss the Company’s support of the UK team at World Skills.

Simon was able to confirm that all arrangements for the World Competition were going well and I hoped that the two competitors representing wall and floor tiling, and bricklaying would do well at the competition in August.

Founders Day at the City of London Girls School

I had accepted an invitation to join the girls of the City of London Girls School Founders Day with ease, after all the school had been founded by Tyler and Bricklayer William Ward, great great grandfather of Past Master Nicholas Ward, some 125 years ago.

The Speaker addressing the girls was none other than “Malala’s father” (his words not mine) Ziauddin Yousafzai.  He explained that he came from a patriarchal family where his 5 sisters did not receive the same education or freedom of choice as him, but when he married, he did so for love.  He and his wife set up a school for girls and boys in Pakistan to provide an education. When the Taliban took power in the area, they decreed that girls should not be educated and Malala spoke out against this and was shot in the head.

After she recovered from the dreadful injuries, she sustained she and her father set up the Malala Fund, a charity aiming to give every girl in the world the opportunity to have 12 years of education and have the freedom to chose what to do with her life.

As I sat listening to this story, I could not help but think how fortunate I and every other girl and women in the room were to have had a full education and a life of our own choosing.  

Youthbuild UK Patrons Evening

Malcolm and I, and Deputy Master Jeff and Catherine Fuller were delighted to accept an invitation to the Patrons Evening of Youthbuild UK in the beautiful River Room of the House of Lords.

The occasion was to thank the organisations who support this well deserving charity, and which will be our Charity of the Year for the Livery year 2019-2020.  

Amongst the speakers was Zinnia Coleman who had won the 2018 Youthbuild UK Award, a young lady whose story I have told several times before.  

Craftsman at work!

It is always an absolute joy to watch a craftsman at work as they always make the project they are working on look so easy.  Malcolm and I took time out of our schedule to join the Master and Mistress of the Worshipful Company of Joiners for a demonstration of wood turning at the Dutch Church in the City.  

Liveryman Les Thorne had set up his lathe in the church, along with a video camera so we could see his work close to hand.  His plan was to turn two pieces of wood into a single candlestick and that is just what he did.  As he worked, he explained every action he took and showed us the tools of his trade, which he had made himself!

After the demonstration there was a raffle, raising funds for the WCJ Charitable Trust, to win the candlestick itself.  Sadly, we did not win, but we will remember the afternoon for quite some time to come!

Who doesn’t love a curry!

Answer, 1500 guests who attended the ABF Big Curry Lunch raising funds for all members of Her Majesty’s armed forces.

Renter Warden Simon Martin is a member of the Soldiers Charity committee arranged for a group of some 20 Tylers and Bricklayers to attend the Curry Lunch at Guildhall.  We gathered in Livery Hall for a pre-lunch glass of bubbly and then headed into the Hall for a delicious curry.   As usual I chose the wrong queue to join, but once we got our meal, I can reveal the food was delicious.

After lunch it was off out into the Ambulatory to do some shopping amongst the Livery Company stalls. I can report that the strawberries from the Fruiterers were delicious!

An inspirational evening

I was delighted to accept an invitation from PACT to attend the Sir Harold Hood Memorial Lecture given by The Recorder of London, HH Judge Nick Hilliard QC.  I had met Nick a few weeks earlier and from that conversation it was easy to tell that he is passionate about reducing knife crime.

In his lecture, He made it most clear that there was a lack of resources to help reduce knife crime, that support for young people had to come from the home, and to encourage young people off the street and find volunteers to help the organisations trying to achieve a reduction in crime.

Much of his lecture was given up to talking to four ladies, the first of which was Kerry whose then husband had been arrested and was found guilty of a crime.  She decided that this was not the life for her, went to university, achieved a degree and now works as a volunteer with PACT.   Her aim was to set up a university scholarship to support a student whose parent had been in prison.

Pastor Lorraine Jones had lost her son, Dwayne.  He had gone to help someone who had been attacked, but was stabbed with a sword and sadly died two days later.  Instead of descending into depression Lorraine decided to start the “Dwaynamics” project in the LB of Lambeth.  Young people from the age of 5 upwards can join this boxing club which has now grown to a membership of 135, and is hoping to move to new premises.  The Club has the full support of the local borough commander in the Metropolitan Police and PCs in the area go along to help with fitness training.  Lorraine also told us that she had been made “Inspirational Woman of the Year”.  

We also heard from volunteers who give advice and help to the families of prisoners and are there to help witnesses attending court at the Old Bailey in relation to cases involving members of their own families.

This was one of the occasions that will remain as a highlight of my year as Master and reminds us all of the importance of helping others.