This year, our Spring Livery Dinner was held in the historic Vintners’ Hall, which is situated on Upper Thames Street at the north end of Southwark Bridge and a fine venue it turned out to be for the Feltmakers. Our Master, Eda Rose-Lawson welcomed the five new Liverymen, who had all been sworn in at the preceding meeting of the Court, Mrs. Lydia McClure, Mrs. Cynthia Gresham, The Reverend Andrew Pritchard-Keens, Ben Robinson and Charles Samek.
Our Chaplain, The Very Reverend Colin Semper, offered grace before the staff served us most efficiently and charmingly with an excellent meal, complemented by fine wines.
The toast to the guests was proposed by Assistant Nicholas Hilliard QC, and in a witty speech, he stressed to his audience that the Master’s special guest, Sir Ivan Lawrence QC, in his role as recorder, was one of the finest judges on the circuit, which Nicholas felt he should mention, just in case he should appear before Sir Ivan. He added that if there were any other judges dining with us this evening, he felt that obviously the same would apply to them, as well …. for the same reason. He mentioned that as MP for Burton-on-Trent, a seat he represented for 20 years, Sir Ivan had held the notable record for the longest speech in parliament, of 4½ hours, and it was hoped that Sir Ivan would not be tempted to repeat that feat this evening.
Sir Ivan responded with a very amusing speech, that had the assembled company in fits of laughter. He was sporting an impressive pair of House of Commons yellow braces and entertained us with anecdotes from both his legal and parliamentary careers. He remarked that nothing was better than to dine with nice people, to wine with nice people and to sleep with a peaceful mind. He proposed the toast to the Company and to our ‘beautiful and elegant Master, Eda’.
Our Master responded to Sir Ivan, making reference to his involvement in the Brinks Matt bullion robbery, albeit it transpired, only in his legal capacity. She encouraged us to attend her charity event, Springtime at Ascot, to be held at the racecourse on 2 May and said that it promised to be, not only a most enjoyable day, but also a great fundraiser for her chosen charities.
As tradition dictates, the evening was rounded off with the call to join the Master for a stirrup cup.