The Summer months have been somewhat quieter as the City prepares for its August ‘shut down’, but there were still a number of very interesting events that we were able to attend.
We drove back from France following the Livery trip a day early, so that we could attend a memorial service for Bomber Command in Green Park. This was followed by a buffet lunch at the RAF club. The memorial in Green Park depicts a Lancaster Bomber crew, which has special memories for the Mistress as her father was a bomb-aimer in a Lancaster crew. He was able to visit the memorial just prior to his passing at the age of 91.
The following day was the Election of Sheriffs at Guildhall, which is a very formal occasion, as you would expect. It is one of the occasions where wearing morning dress feels right.
Later in the week, I was able to attend the T&B Charitable Trust trustees meeting, after which I had a very pleasant lunch with Past Master Nicholas Ward. Nicholas has always been a great supporter of the Company and was instrumental in re-structuring the Company’s finances some years ago. After lunch, I endured a tortuous drive into deepest Kent, and arrived in the ‘nick of time’ to get changed to attend the Royal Engineers Corps guest night at their Chatham Barracks. The Officers of the Corps make their guests extremely welcome and allow guests the opportunity to sample their wonderful hospitality with full military tradition. Our relationship with the Corps is very strong, and long may it continue.
As a member of the City Livery club, I have joined their Golf Society, which provides the opportunity to play at some very nice courses in the London area, one of which is the New Zealand Club. Interestingly this is one of only two clubs in the UK that are not members of the English Golf Union, and therefore are able to establish their own rules of etiquette, which are not always in line with other clubs. When we played the course they were playing under winter rules in July!
The second Thursday in July was a day for T&B business. The day started with a Craft Trust trustees meeting, followed by Finance and Communications meetings. The session finished with the interview of a potential new member.
The next day was equally busy. Along with Past Master Ian Grimshaw Mitchell I attended the St Paul’s Cathedral School Speech day, which was a wonderful occasion. The young pupils were absolute stars as they were shepherded around to receive their prizes. The guest of honour was Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian and Gold Medalist. Ian and I had the opportunity to have a long chat with Katherine who was extremely interesting and an absolute delight. I took the opportunity to have lunch with James Talman – CEO of NFRC. NFRC are great supporters of our Company and it is important that we maintain the relationship. In the evening, I attended the Builders Merchants Company’s Summer Ball at Skinners Hall. This was a slightly less formal Livery event, which provided me with the opportunity to catch up with some good friends from the industry. I had not visited Skinners Hall before, and I was very impressed with its roof garden.
As a member of the City Livery Club, Hilary and I attended their Civic lunch at the Mansion House with the Lord Mayor as principle guest.
Along with a number of other Masters, I attended the Imperial Society Knights Bachelor service in the crypt of St Paul’s, after which there was a buffet lunch at Apothecaries Hall. In the early evening, it was back to the Mansion House for the Lord Mayors annual lecture, given by Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. Her speech gave an overview and appraisal of the terrorist threat after which she was good enough to have informal chats over coffee.
The last event of the month was the Charter Day celebration in Bath, which was attended by 26 Liverymen and guests. A ‘welcome’ coffee was followed by a very interesting guided tour of the Roman Baths, and then a delightful lunch in the Georgian Pump Rooms. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the visit.
I have just started to send out Company invitations for the next Installation, which comes as a shock! It only seems ‘five minutes’ ago since my installation and here we are with the year coming quickly to a close. The last formal event of my year is the September dinner at Vintners Hall, which is sold out. I am grateful to everyone for their support.