The approach to St Margaret Lothbury for our carol service raised an uneasy sense of déja vu - the Central Line was half-empty at rush-hour, the streets and pavements were almost deserted – but our welcome from the Rector, The Rev Preb Jeremy Crossley was warm. No less than six other carol services (some Livery, some corporate) had been cancelled that week and he was delighted to see us. The congregation was less in number than usual but its singing was strong. The choir revelled in the noticeably more resonant acoustics, which are largely dampened when the church is full, and the Director of Music, Richard Townend, had chosen an appealing mixture of well-known congregational favourites with two or three carols for the choir that were new to us and very attractive.

Towards the end of the service, the Master paid tribute to The Revd. John Cook, who was retiring after more than 20 years as Honorary Chaplain. His length of service and his support of the many Masters during that period had been recognised by the Court that afternoon by his admission as an Honorary Liveryman. In reply, John acknowledged the honour that had been bestowed on him and looked forward to maintaining his links to the Company.

The congregation may have been on the small side but there was a great sense of companionship and of delight that the service, which was both enjoyable and uplifting, had gone ahead as planned.