14 Oct

The dramatic presence of HMS Belfast on the River Thames, a fender’s throw from Tower Bridge, acted as an incredible location for this year‘s Master’s at Home.

The Master’s at Home is a very special occasion in the World Traders calendar. Every year, the outgoing Master of the company hosts an event which is generally their last before the next Installation Dinner. The location of the event reflects the personal interests of the Master and often says a lot about their personality!

This year has been challenging for our incredible Master, Sue Algeo. With a virtual installation and mainly digital events in 2020 and throughout the winter, it was a delight to see Sue enjoying events throughout the summer and autumn.

Sue’s father was the Commander of the vessel in the late 1950s and took her on her last trip to the Far East. In her speech, Sue told us more about her early memories of the ship: “We got postcards from every port! Before she sailed, we had a most memorable family day out in her when we sailed from Plymouth Sound and the sailors put on a Crossing of the Line ceremony – which was all too scarily realistic for young children. The motto of HMS Belfast,  is “Pro tanto quid retribuamus”, which, as I’m sure you’ll know, means  “For so much, how shall we repay?” (The sailors I’m reliably told, translated it as ‘ We give as good as we get’.) “

On arrival, we had to walk across several gangplanks to get onto the ship and were greeted by friendly hosts showed us into the reception rooms. We enjoyed the convivial atmosphere with guests including Professor and Mrs Myles Wickstead and Sir Ciaran Devane. Both Professor Wickstead and Sir Devane had made speeches during the Master’s year. It was also a pleasure to see the very Rev Bernard Olivier, our former chaplain, and Paul Curley all the way from Canada and our new Beadle Rob Broadfield and Mrs Broadfield. We were also delighted to welcome Sue‘s daughter Lucy du Preez and her son Jonny Algeo. Sadly, Sue’s other son, Nick, was in the Gambia.

It was a pleasure to hear Sue‘s speech which acted as a milestone in the Company’s history, marking the end of a challenging year for us all. Sue summarised her year which included the first ever virtual Tacitus Lecture on climate change and her commitment to education. Then she went on to make us laugh with a witty and very comprehensive poem about her year. Sue‘s poem may be viewed here.

The evening ended with a tour of the ship which is in incredible condition and full of exciting details, such as cabins full of hammocks, a fully equipped sickbay and the ship’s store, selling 1950s toiletries and snacks.

On behalf of all World Traders, I would like to thank the Master for an incredible year where she offered intellectual stimulus, fun and comfort in challenging times.

Zoe Buckingham