So what have your Master and the Wardens been up to in September 2023? This has been a very busy month. Please note this is my penultimate report before I hand over soon to the new Master, Dr James Cripps on 11 October.
I will issue my final Activity Report in October.
Sunday 3 September, Merchant Navy Association Commemorative Service Day
I attended with Jan the annual commemoration of the Merchant Navy where I was privileged to lay a wreath on behalf of the Fuellers at the memorial in Trinity Square Gardens. The ceremony included a band led parade and a commemorative service. The Lord Mayor attended and the event was presided over by Commodore David Eagles of our RFA Affiliate. The Fuellers are a Patron of this service.
Monday 4 September, Pan Livery 17th Annual Halls Walk
Jan and I attended this all-day event, being the 17thAnnual Livery Halls Walk. The Fuellers are one of just 20 Livery Companies to do this special day. It was organised by the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners and an excellent guide was provided. My fellow Masters and Consorts all met at 8am at Apothecaries Hall where we had breakfast and got dressed in full robes, hats, and badges for the 8.5 mile walk around the City Livery Halls. We started fresh and keen visiting 40 Livery Halls with a group photograph taken outside each Hall. The weather was dry but very hot and all of us taking on water where we could. The walk concluded at 5pm with a hot and relatively bedraggled group enjoying a well-earned drink at Southwark Cathedral.
Why just 20 Livery Companies? It could be long memories by the City Police, as in 1484 there was trouble with Livery Companies processing in the City so they have since restricted numbers to avoid it being deemed as a protest or march!
Tuesday 5 September, Glasgow in London Dinner
The Trades House of Glasgow and its fourteen Incorporations held a black-tie dinner at Guildhall library. This was the sixth time this event has happened and it is designed to bring the Cities and Trades of Glasgow and London closer. I remind the readers that this year’s Masters’ June weekend was held in Glasgow, so Jan and I wanted to attend to support this event. Many other Masters attended and the guests included both City of London Sheriffs and The Deacon Convener of the Trades of Glasgow. Entertainment was provided during the evening including speeches, a concert by a superb opera singer, unusual toasts, a “visitation” and some communal singing.
Thursday 7 September, I chaired a Fuellers Special Zoom Court meeting
In the morning I chaired a special Court meeting of the Fuellers. This was held to approve a few administrative matters. These related to our Military Affiliates, the Redemption by patrimony change from 21 to 18 and the timing of Midsummer Court in the Standing Orders to include July.
Tuesday 12 September, GPC Meeting
I attended the Fuellers General Purposes Committee meeting in the afternoon at Carmen Hall as Chaired by John Ingham. This included reports and discussion of the various sub committees work and other matters. This was John’s last meeting and in future the GPC will be chaired by the Senior Warden. We all thanked John for his excellent 3 years in the role.
Tuesday 12 September, 2022/23 Past Masters Association meeting
I attended a meeting in the evening at Guildhall of the 2022/23 Past Masters Association. Each year an alumni association is set up for the Masters and this had been postponed from our Glasgow visit in June. The meeting was held to decide on our name and to elect a committee. We will be known as “The Caroleans” (Latin for Charles) and all the Committee member slots were filled by volunteers without any problems.
Wednesday 13 September, Freedom Ceremony for Richard Wassall
Jan and I went to support Freeman Richard Wassall at the Guildhall for his Freedom of the City of London ceremony. Pauline Wassall also attended.
Thursday 14 September, Attended our military affiliate TSW at their Battle of Britain Anniversary Dinner
Jan and I travelled to the MOD base at Stafford for their Battle of Britain anniversary dinner, held at the WO’s and Sgt’s Mess by our Military Affiliate, Tactical Supply Wing. Past Master Chloe Andrews Jones also attended. The evening included a sunset ceremony with a flypast. Due to low cloud this was a Chinook helicopter rather than the planned Spitfire. This was followed by a formal reception with a 1940’s style singer and an excellent dinner which included speeches from Winston Churchill. In the mess an empty table setting was in pride of place for “absent friends”. The evening concluded with drinks and a live band.
Friday 15 September, Met with Senior Warden James Cripps and Consort Margaret Cripps for Dinner
James Cripps takes over as Master on 11 October. Jan and I met with James and his Consort Margaret for dinner, to have further discussions regarding handover and other aspects of his year as Master.
Monday 18 September, Modern Companies Dinner
Senior Warden James Cripps and I attended the Modern Companies dinner at Butchers Hall. A modern Livery Company is anyone from order of precedence number 78 upwards. The Fuellers are number 95 and we now have 111 Companies. Each Company takes a turn to organise these six monthly dinners and tonight’s was the turn of The Worshipful Company of Master Mariners. A great opportunity to meet other Masters and Senior Wardens.
Wednesday 20 September, Consorts visit to RAF Hendon
Jan was invited by The Honourable Company of Air Pilots’ Consort, to an afternoon visit to the RAF Museum at Hendon. I attended as a guest. We had a guided tour followed by an excellent afternoon tea.
Wednesday 20 September, Worshipful Company of Air Pilots Tymmes Memorial Lecture
I then travelled straight into London to attend the evening lecture of The Honourable Company of Air Pilots at The RAF Club on Piccadilly. This was a military based lecture on The British Army’s Attack Helicopter Capability presented by Colonel David Amlot MBE. He explained all about the Apache helicopter development and its current capabilities, which in the digital world are outstanding. This was followed by a drinks reception.
Thirty-four Livery Companies were represented at this event.
Thursday 21 September, Wren 300 years School Concert
As you may know 2023 is 300 years since the death of Sir Christopher Wren. This was a concert performed by 9 City Of London primary schools at the Guildhall, as a special event to celebrate Wren’s life and achievements in the City of London.
The music and words of each very impressive song, were specially written by the Director of Music, Richard Quesnel. The event was the culmination of a two year build up including rehearsals.
Friday 22 September, The Sheriffs Charity Ball and Auction
Tonight was the annual Sheriffs Charity Ball and silent auction held at Guildhall. The theme was “Phantom at the Opera” and the Fuellers took a table of 12 at this excellent event. Jan and I had the pleasure of hosting the table which included the Senior Warden, Dr James Cripps and his Consort Margaret, as well as Master Carmen and his Consort. The evening included a reception in the Crypt, followed by dinner, live music and dancing till midnight in the Great Hall. The Hall was packed with entertainment from William Sitwell, one of Britain’s leading food writers and from a performance group providing a musical and dance review based on the Phantom.
All the net proceeds go to the Lord Mayor’s appeal which covers National Numeracy, Mental Health Research and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Sunday 24 September, Sheep Drive over Southwark Bridge
I led a team of Fuellers and friends driving a flock of sheep at lunchtime over Southwark Bridge. Freeman of The City all have the longstanding right to do this. It is now organised annually by the Worshipful Company of Woolmen as a ceremonial sheep drive. It is done with a small group of real sheep, cared for by an allocated shepherd. A number of others came along as spectators to cheer us on. Afterwards we went for a celebration drink to the nearby Little Ship Club. A very memorable event that every Liveryman should aim to do at least once.
The weather on the day was kind and the sheep drives started at 10am and went on long into the afternoon. Close to 1,000 people took part. In addition, many other Livery Companies set up stalls selling goods and memorabilia, there was also a sheep shearing demonstration. The funds raised in this event by the Woolmen go to their Charities.
Monday 25 September, Jailed and Bailed charity event
This is an annual fundraiser for the British Red Cross. As your Master, I was first arrested in the morning at the Old Bailey where my misdemeanours were read out in Court. Having been found guilty, I was then transported, in a vintage double decker bus, to be jailed in the Tower of London. I did this with a group of 20 or so other Masters and we all wore our full robes to process through the grounds, confusing a lot of tourists on the way.
Jan and our Clerk, Alex attended Court to watch me squirm as my charges were read out.
I am very grateful to the members of The Fuellers who stepped forward and provided sufficient funds for my release - after a drink and a good lunch in the Tower! £1,200 of the funds raised was donated to The Red Cross and the balance of the funds raised went to the Fuellers Charitable Trust Fund. About £25,000 plus gift aid was raised on the day.
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO DONATED to release me from the Tower of London.
Wednesday 27 September, Goldsmiths Fair
Jan and I attended the annual Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths Fair at Goldsmiths Hall. The Fair is open to the public for 2 weeks but we had access via a special “Ambassadors Evening” drinks reception visit. It was packed with visitors and had lots of very impressive handmade jewellery and other items for sale at the large number of stalls.
Thursday 28 September, Meeting with our Clerk at Carmen Hall
The Chair of GPC John Ingham, the Senior Warden Dr James Cripps and myself, all met in the afternoon at Carmen Hall with our Clerk, Alex Maclean Bather. This was to discuss the work he has done in the year, plans and actions for the future.
Thursday 28 September, Veterans Aid Reception
I attended in the evening with our Clerk, Alex, a “Veterans Aid” charity awareness evening drinks reception, at Merchant Taylors Hall. We had a chance to learn from the Chair and CEO about the work this charity does for Veterans in crisis. Also one individual, who recently benefitted, gave a very moving talk. They are not a big charity but they do excellent work and many other veteran charities refer people to them. They have a base in Limehouse London.
Friday 29 September, Common Hall Election of Lord Mayor
I attended the Election of the Lord Mayor at Guildhall and together with all 111 other Masters in full robes, we formed a procession. I started the day with an invitation to an early breakfast at the Guildhall Club. This was followed by all of us robing up and processing to the newly renovated and reopened church, St Lawrence Jewry, next to Guildhall.
After this we processed back into a packed Guildhall and we Masters, along with all the other Livery attendees, voted for the new Lord Mayor in the usual way by a show of hands. Alderman Prof. Michael Mainelli was appointed as Lord Mayor elect. He will take up office on 10 November 2023 at the famous Silent Ceremony.
After the voting, the Fuellers group moved back into the Guildhall Club for lunch. Other members of the Fuellers who also attended, included Jan, our Clerk and Past Master Deputy Shravan Joshi MBE CC.
Saturday 30 September, Healing Military Minds Ball
Jan and I attended, along with Past Master Neville Chamberlain CBE and Joy, a Healing Military Minds charity fundraising Ball at a hotel in the Cotswolds. HMM is a multi-armed forces fundraising initiative set up in 2021 and this was the second Ball. Brize Norton RAF individuals are involved in organising this and the Officer in charge is from our own Affiliate, Sqn Ldr John Morgan of 10 Squadron Brize Norton. Almost 400 attended and the proceeds go to the Combat Stress UK, a veteran’s mental health charity. We were keen to support with our attendance and the fundraising included auctions and a raffle.