Feltmakers and their Guests are full of the joys of Spring
The 2013 Spring Livery Dinner heralded the first mild evening of the year as our Master, Anthony Phillips, welcomed Masters from other Companies, their Clerks and Officers from HMS Lancaster in the elegant surroundings of Skinners’ Hall. This is a Grade 1 listed building dating from 1670, described as “the country house venue in the heart of the City”.
An appropriately sombre note was struck when our Chaplain, The Very Reverend Colin Semper, offered prayers in memory of the late Baroness Thatcher who had passed away earlier in the day.
However, the hall was soon ringing again with lively chatter as a sumptuous meal of delicate gravadlax, tender lamb Wellington and a creamy panna cotta was served, each complemented by a well-chosen wine.
The toast to the guests was proposed by Assistant, Mrs Gilly Yarrow, who recalled Winston Churchill’s advice that “a good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest”!
The Master’s principal speaker was Christopher Saunders, MA, previously a housemaster at Bradfield College and more recently, Headmaster of Lancing College, who regaled us with humorous anecdotes drawn from his life in academia – clearly, a source of rich pickings as his references to raconteur, Arthur Marshall, testified. His entertaining speech was peppered with witty aphorisms not least a definition of “monotony” – having only one wife – and a reminder to avoid being like a thrombosis – “a bloody clot that circulates around the system”!
An impressive roll-call of Lancing’s “old boys” included Sir Christopher Meyer, Sir Tim Rice and, of course, our own illustrious Master!
In his response, the Master noted the record number of Liverymen in attendance at the evening’s Dinner and congratulated the Liverymen who had been sworn in during the prior Court meeting: Mr Joe Petran, Mr Dan Benham, Mr Steve Bowles and Mr Tim Downing plus Honorary Liverymen: The Very Reverend Dr David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Commodore Paul Chivers, OBE, RN and Commander Richard Moss, RN.
The Master encouraged the assembled guests to support the Company’s charitable objectives, reminding us of the importance of honouring our long tradition of philanthropy in the City of London and that “it is more agreeable to give than to receive”.
He was followed by Senior Naval Officer, Lt Cdr Charlie Guy, who gave a fascinating glimpse into life aboard HMS Lancaster.
Tales of lost navigation lights after high water in The Solent would suggest this is not for the faint-hearted!
In keeping with tradition, the assembled Liverymen and guests were then invited to join the Master for a stirrup cup, and given his theme for the year is enjoyment – this was accepted with gusto!