The Paviors’ Luncheon Club hosted an interesting and unusual virtual event on Wednesday 10 February. Around 30 Paviors and their families logged into Zoom to participate, with the evening being introduced by the new Luncheon Club Chairman, John Price.

The first part of the evening was a magic show by Bertie Pearce (centre in the image above), who was introduced by Pavior Daniel Rowe. Bertie, who is a member of the Inner Magic Circle, overcame the constraints of virtual working to give an amazing presentation of illusions using a newspaper, a soft-drinks bottle, napkins, string – plus the inevitable playing cards. He even managed to engage members of his virtual audience with some of his tricks, all of which were accompanied by amusing banter. His skill left his audience spellbound and was a most enjoyable start to the evening.

The event also contained two musical interludes that were introduced by Pavior Alexander Malmaeus, who is also Chairman of the Anglo-Swedish Society. Alex introduced a scholar from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Ami-Louise Johnsson (left in the image above), who is sponsored by the Society. Ami-Louise has recently switched from violin to viola, which she considers more appropriately reflects her personality. In the first interval she played two bourees by J S Bach. In a later interlude, she played the Lago from Bach’s Violin Sonata and a Polish Caprice by Nenad Vasilic. As the Paviors have always found when being entertained by students from the Guildhall School, the standard of performance was exceptional and very entertaining.

For the other parts of the evening, Pavior Miles Ashley (right in the image above) took on the role of ‘Graham Norton’ and conducted interviews with some members of the Company who had an interesting story to tell. First up was Pavior Tim Fitch, who has ‘turned his life around’ from a health point of view through a more disciplined approach to exercise and diet. It was interesting to hear about the motivation behind this and the dedication over a period of several years to produce beneficial effects and what is now his ‘way of life’. Second up was Daniel Rowe, who had bid for a lot at a charity auction and been successful in gaining the opportunity to accompany a group of Royal Marines who were to planning to travel unsupported to the North Pole. Daniel had the opportunity to accompany them to their starting point in the extreme north of Canada and described in alarming detail an unfortunate experience where he unwittingly drove off a cliff on a skidoo during a white-out. Daniel also had the chance to fly up to the North Pole to greet the successful arriving Marines.

A little later in the evening, Miles interviewed two other guests. The first was Pavior Vanessa Elliott, who is Head of Public Affairs at the BBC. Vanessa, who has a background as a political researcher and journalist, now spends most of her time lobbying members in the two Houses of Parliament on behalf of the BBC. She recounted how her career had evolved, and how it had taken a number of unplanned and unexpected turns to lead up to the position she now held. This proved a fascinating insight into the worlds of both politics and of a public broadcaster. Miles’s final guest was the Reverend Canon Bernard Metcalfe. Bernard is the Honorary Chaplain to the Paviors’ Luncheon Club and described his ‘calling’ into the clergy from his original planned career as an architect. He described, amongst other things, his role as a multi-denominational pastor in the new town of Thamesmead, which had proved very challenging. He also talked about his rather harrowing experience working with the church in Rwanda in the period leading up to the genocide that took place there. It was a fascinating tale, charismatically delivered in a manner for which Bernard is well known amongst his Pavior friends. Throughout the interviews, Miles Ashley demonstrated great skill in the way he obtained a balance between his thought-provoking questions and allowing interviewees to tell their stories.

The evening was something of a new venture for the Paviors, with its mix of different aspects of entertainment. It was very smoothly executed and proved to be an unusual, interesting, and most enjoyable evening for those participating. Well done to all involved. ​