Thursday 17th June 2021
This was the first official event of my year as Master, and how lucky that it was our own Company Golf Day. The Mistress and I ventured half-way around the M25 to Tandridge, arriving just in time for a drink and to watch the golfers slowly making their way back to the clubhouse. This event has been ably organised by Past Master Derek Harris for the last 26 years, and he has produced a great formula which has much to offer for the golfer and non-golfer alike. The weather, which was forecast to be biblical, turned out, thankfully, to be fine and dry; the presence of our Honorary Chaplain was purely coincidental in that, I’m sure. With golfers all safely returned (and a large cohort who were only there to be fed and watered) we moved into the dining room for a very fine lunch which included, as promised by Derek, the famous Tandridge Pudding – a treat not to be missed. The prize-giving followed, with the Charles Rich Trophy for the best Company golfer again going to Senior Warden Paul Taberer – congratulations Paul but, surely, there must be someone in the Company who can beat him?. Past Master Charles Miller ran an auction of McLaren FI luggage, kindly donated by BAT, which raised £200 for the Benevolent Fund. Many thanks to Derek for yet another triumph! A great way to start my year.
Tuesday 15th June 2021
Having been founded in 1371, the Fletchers Company is 650 years’ old this year, and to mark that occasion they organised a [virtual] lecture about the momentous events that occurred some 10 years later:- “London and the Peasants Revolt: The people of 1381”. Professor Anne Curry, the Master Fletcher, is a medieval historian and she, and her several colleagues who participated in the lecture, led us through the genesis of the rebellion, the people involved (on both sides) and the social and political context of late 14th century England, all the way through to the death of Wat Tyler and the aftermath of the Revolt. Parallels were drawn with more modern events, such as the Poll Tax riots in 1990 and the recent storming of the Capitol in Washington. It was a lively and entertaining canter through the events of June 1381; many thanks are due to the Fletchers, and many congratulations to them on their anniversary
Thursday 3rd June 2021
And so to my Installation as Master. Having been on the Court since 1999, I’ve certainly taken my time to prepare myself, but that doesn’t make it any less daunting – especially following in the footsteps of my grandfather, father and brother-in-law. The ceremony was, as is the custom nowadays, a Virtual one, but I hope that that will become more of a rarity as society starts to open up. I was honoured that Past Master Rolf Christophersen was able to formally confirm my nomination – 99 years old and still going strong – particularly because my grandfather was one of Rolf’s Wardens during Rolf’s year as Master. I was also delighted to install my crack team of Wardens – Paul Taberer, Elise Rasmussen, Henry Tuck and Tony Scanlan, who I know will provide me with wisdom, guidance and support during my term of office. As I said at the ceremony, great credit must go to my two immediate predecessors, Andrew Golding and Adam Bennett, whose years were unkindly impacted by the pandemic, but who nonetheless have led the Company through a difficult 15-months or so. The continued support and hard work of the Clerk and the Treasurer has been essential during that period, and is much appreciated by me, and the other members of the Court and, indeed, the Company. I now face a year where my diary is beginning to fill up with real (as opposed to virtual) events, and Catherine and I very much look forward to representing this Company across the City. I say that in expectation rather than hope, but with my fingers and toes firmly crossed.
Wednesday 26th May 2021
On Wednesday 26 May, I attended a (virtual) meeting of my Past Masters’ Association 2020-21, which was led by the Lord Mayor, William Russell. I have to say that it seemed somewhat surreal attending a Past Masters’ Association meeting before I had actually been installed as Master, but these are surreal times. (In a “normal” year, this meeting would have taken place at Ironbridge in June but, alas, that weekend was yet another victim of COVID.) Anyway, there were over 80 of us on the call. Having duly constituted the Association, we then had to decide on a name. We were presented with a choice of one from a list of 55 (!) suggestions and, but for the assured presence of the Sword Bearer, Tim Rolph, I am sure that chaos would have ensued. In the event, “The Unmutables” was the clear favourite, and so we move on – immutable and un-muteable.