The Master with the Prime Minister at Buckingham Palace Garden Party

Blog of 16 July 2018

Firstly, I must thank all of you who supported my fund-raising walk along the West Wales Coastal Path. To date we have raised a magnificent £15,190. This has really been appreciated by both Monty and myself, and our two charities, Paviors’ Educational Programmes and Alzheimer’s Research UK. It is not too late to contribute: click here to do this.​

Both the Mistress and myself continue to have the time of our lives, and the last few weeks have been as busy as ever. We took 40 Paviors and partners for our Jolly to Lyon, the ‘gastronomic capital’ of France. The city lived up to this reputation and everybody had a great time on wine and sightseeing tours. We look forward to Seville next year.

We both also enjoyed our weekend at Ironbridge with other Masters and their consorts: the donation made to repave a road at Blists Hill Victorian village a few years ago is really appreciated. A Past Masters’ group for this year was officially formed and will be entitled ‘The Spitfires’, with the Consorts’ group called ‘Merlin’: fun for many years ahead.

We have once again had an active time with our military affiliates. There was an exceptional day aboard HMS Argyll before their deployment to South East Asia, and a wonderful ‘Going Out’ dinner with 29 Squadron at Coningsby, who shared with us their preparation for the RAF Centenary Fly Past over London on 10 July.

We were privileged to attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on a beautifully warm day where we met the Prime Minister and her husband, from where she had just escaped another divided Cabinet meeting.

The Festival of Clergy at St Pauls was spectacular, as was the Luncheon Club visit to the Cutty Sark, where I was presented with a birthday cake decorated with the Paviors’ emblem. My thanks to Tom Barton and Peter King for their organization of a quite superb day.

I survived two rounds of golf: one at Burnham Beeches with the Golfing Society, playing with Lynda Chase-Gardener, the eventual winner; and one at The Horners’ Inter-Livery competition at Ashridge. Our Charity Golf Day was superbly organized by John White at the challenging Burhill Course and, once again, well over £15,000 was raised.

The City Livery Companies’ Common Hall this year on 25 June saw an unusual contested election of Sheriffs, with Elizabeth Green and Vincent Keaveny winning through. So congratulations to them both. I attended an enjoyable Past Masters’ lunch on the same day, giving an update on the successes of our highly active Livery.

On our educational programmes, I have had the joy of attending two award ceremonies of our apprentices from the London Construction Academy. All of them are really delighted and very much appreciate being given a second chance in life. In my personal opinion, this is one of the best things we have done in over 700 years. I am grateful to the work of the Task Force for raising the awareness of these programmes, and the excellent effort by Chris Plant, David Ing, Malcolm Harris and Renu Gupta. Our first ever Paviors’ Week will coincide with the next Academy course at Southwark from on 15 to 19 October. Why not pay a visit yourself?

It was good to attend the Alumni event at the Charterhouse and hear of the success of students from our involvement with CYT and the Arkwright scholars: a big thanks to Ian Edwards for his organization.

I have attended numerous lunches and dinners with other livery companies who have been kind enough to invite me, and also a delightful concert evening with the Worshipful Company of Wales at the Senedd (Welsh Assembly). Cardiff Bay provided a wonderful backdrop to performances by some of the most talented musicians in Wales.

Our Court Dinner on 5 July was held at Cutlers’ Hall, an intimate evening where our newest members could talk informally to members of Court. We were once again blessed with an excellent speaker in Nigel Jackson, the CEO of the Mineral Products Association, who spoke quite forthrightly on a number of issues with which most of our membership had considerable empathy. Many Paviors who attended have asked him for a copy of his speech, which is a real sign of appreciation.

There are two future events I would like to draw to your attention. The first, on 14 September, is for the naming of a locomotive ‘The Pavior’ to coincide with a technical visit to Harper Lane Virtual Quarry at Radlett. This really will now be a special day thanks to GB Railfreight and Tarmac who will jointly host the event. The second is on 27 September, when we will hold our Annual Banquet at the Mansion House. The Banquet will be attended by the Lord Mayor accompanied by the Sheriffs, both of whom are members of the Paviors Company. At the event, there will be a performance by the London Welsh Male Voice Choir in their magnificent red jackets.

I have just one appointment in August, when I have been invited by the Captain of PWRR to join them on manoeuvres in Michigan which, as you can imagine, I am looking forward to very much.

All that remains for me is to wish you all a happy and relaxing summer in what so far has been wonderful weather.
Dyfrig James

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