23 November 2015

It is Sunday evening and since some guests for Sunday lunch left, I’ve been getting ready for our Livery Dinner next Thursday evening! This has included a few emails to my guests to confirm arrangements, some work on the things I want to say when it’s my turn to stand up, and preparing a few comments on the draft table plan our Clerk has sent me. We are looking to fill Goldsmiths’ Hall to the brim, and I am delighted by that having booked two of the largest halls possible, before my year as Master had hardly started, we have filled them. I feel very confident it will again be a memorable evening!

I still have some time before settling down for the evening, so here goes with my latest blog!

Before October finished, I attended two very memorable events. On the 29th, I was invited with other Livery Masters to parade through Westminster Abbey before the Sheriffs, The Lord Mayor and the Duke and Duchess of Kent on the 600-year anniversary of the day London got the news that Henry V had won at the Battle of Agincourt! No phones or email in those days: it took three days of hard riding and rowing to get a note back to those who having sponsored the King could rejoice in the victory! Westminster Abbey was full to the brim, all tickets sold, and the highlight for me was when a Shakespearean actor came through a door in the altar wall, from Henry V’s tomb area, dressed as Henry would have been, complete with a bloodied and dirty visage, to give Shakespeare’s version of Henry’s Eve of Battle speech (Ye band of brothers, you will wear your scars with pride and, If you survive, all the more your share of honour shall be should many die, and ‘On St Crispins Day’, etc!). He wandered up the aisle and back before going back to the tomb, and I thought it a shame none of us clapped before the next hymn! There was much more, including the Master Cutler taking Henry’s sword to the altar and the well-known actor Robert Hardy, who evidently is a longbow expert, spoke between hymns. All in all an event which will never be repeated and at which I was delighted to be present!

On the 30th, I presented certificates to two Arkwright Scholars (see photo) that have been supported by the Paviors this year. They are very charming and grateful young people who are taking A-levels that will fit them for the engineering profession they intend to take up after university studies. There are well over 100 Arkwright Scholars each year, supported by many different organisations, but the parents of ‘our’ two, along with the Scholars themselves, were delighted to learn more about the Paviors, and were very grateful that it was us giving them our support.

On 2nd November, I was invited with other Masters to an open-air Remembrance Service in the garden at St Paul’s Cathedral, and it was an honour during that service to take my turn and plant a cross and poppy on behalf of our Company (see photo). I have also during the month so far again attended alone some delightful lunches and dinners as a guest of other companies, and a couple of lectures with Mistress Caroline and our Freeman daughter Felicity. However, I want to concentrate next in this blog on two Paviors-only events.

The first, on 3rd November, was a New Members Introduction to the Paviors Evening at Charterhouse, organised by our Marketing Committee and led by its Chairman and 2nd Warden in Nomination Sue Illman. I think over 10 prospective new members, brought along by Paviors, left with application forms, all stating that they have every intention to return them! A great success, and we need support not only for this event when it is next held, but generally for the introduction of new members outside of it, to keep our finances strong. Please keep bringing guests that will be suitable Paviors to functions and persuade them to come for an Admissions interview.

The second was the Liverymen’s Committee meeting before the Paviors’ Lunch Club event at Guildhall on 11th November. This Committee has in the past been the fountain of so much in terms of innovation, ideas, fundraising and viewpoints. The Wardens and I are desperate for it to continue to be so! As well as a new Chairman, to be elected, there are vacancies for members who can contribute and continue to make this Committee a worthwhile, vibrant and enjoyable one to belong to, and I do hope that some of our newer members in particular will be prepared to join.

Finally at the end of the second week of November, the new Lord Mayor was elected at a Silent Ceremony on the Friday in Guildhall and then hosted the Lord Mayor’s Show parade around the City on the Saturday. Caroline and I were fortunate to get some super tickets to the Silent Ceremony. It is only in this country that such a British tradition can continue to be so interesting and ceremonial. We thoroughly enjoyed watching the Lord Mayor changeover and meeting up afterwards with so many friends we’ve made from around other livery companies during our year! The next day of course I was proud to be at the head of our Paviors’ procession in the parade (well actually behind the steamroller!). There is no doubt that the Paviors’ float is now well recognised and almost eagerly anticipated by the crowds, not only because of the steamroller, but because of the jazz band on our float and the now famous flying Paviors’ Pink Pig! At home we recorded the BBC coverage of the event, and the opening shots were I think dominated by our Pig. During the commentary, I think Dan Snow did a great job of explaining the Pig’s significance to us Paviors! Leading up to the event, my main contact was with James Atkins from the Liverymen’s Committee, and I want to say a huge public ‘well done’ to him and his helpers, particularly Jacqui Davies, also from the Committee for all the work organising the movements of the steamroller, float, and pig; the sponsors for again helping us afford our entry, the river trip afterwards, and the Paviors and their families (including a lot of mine) who braved a soggy day by marching with us, helping to make the day such a huge success. The sad fact that the evening fireworks display was cancelled to show solidarity with the Parisians who suffered such carnage earlier did not detract too much from a very relaxing river trip after dark.

Until next month, please go well!

Best regards
Terry Last