It was in the splendour of Merchant Taylors Hall that we held the Election Dinner which itself was preceded by the Admissions Court. A packed Court room witnessed the clothing of Honorary Liveryman Sir Simon Fraser, a well deserved recognition of his services to World Trade. This was followed by the Admission of four Freemen into the Company. Following a short speech by the Master, highlighting the purpose of the Livery movement and our Company in particular, the Wardens, Court Assistants and Guests witnessed the admission of Dr Tina Barton, Mr Michael Dzumbira, Mr Bo Jiao and Ms Claire Mayne into the Company.
Admissions Court was followed by the Election Dinner where, in a surprise twist, the normal procession into dinner was replaced by a performance of ‘The Ragged Child’. An uplifting song and dance routine, from children aged between 9 and 20 from theatre schools based in Kingston upon Thames, based on the creation of the Ragged Schools (Google it!) by Lord Shaftsbury and others. A wonderful dinner of asparagus, duck (sorry didn’t take note of the vegetarian alternative) and summer pudding accompanied by new world wines led us into a short toast to our guests from the Junior Warden, Michael Larsen. Replying on behalf of the guests Court Assistant Mr Richard Burge delivered a powerful speech on the role of City. Starting with some of (the now recognised) imperfections of the past Richard called for the City – its corporation, livery and professional bodies to play a more forceful role in securing the economic future of London and of the UK through clear values, better governance and taking the lead in shaping international standards. Whilst recognising our history and traditions Richard called for the livery to find its voice in setting and maintaining the professional standards and to make London the home of strong, consistent, impartial jurisprudence and concluded with a request that the livery steps up, rediscovers its loudest voice and reclaims its duty to the guardians of the skills, probity and accountability of the new professions that are the cornerstone of the London ecosystem.
The Master concluded the dinner with a call for the purpose of the livery movement to be communicated beyond those involved countering a recent journalists claim that ‘Bankers join the livery for the rich dinners’, before lamenting the probable end of the loving cup tradition and moving on the announcement of the next Master and Wardens.
Master (elect) Michael Shapiro
Senior Warden (elect) Michael Larsen
Junior Warden (elect) Lars Andersen
The Master thanked everyone involved in running the Company and in particular for delivering the new committee infrastructure and finished with the list of forthcoming events.
A quick stop for a Stirrup cup, final chat with those I hadn’t spoken to earlier and concluded a truly excellent evening.