To misquote T.S. Eliot, a wet coming we had of it, as Feltmakers, families and friends, gathered for our annual Carols by Candlelight. This year, we were joined by staff and supporters of Mencap, a charity with whom our Master, Gilly Yarrow, has had a long and significant association, and which is her chosen charity for her year in office.
This year’s service was a delightful combination of the traditional and modern. Much-loved and well-known carols and Gospel readings were interspersed with comic, yet reverential poems, such as Benjamin Zephaniah’s “Talking Turkeys”, delivered with great panache by actor, Tim Bentinck, and “Christmas Thank Yous”, by Mick Gower and read by Mencap volunteer, Lloyd Page. Richenda Carey delivered The Annunication from St Luke’s Gospel and The Master gave the final reading from St John’s Gospel.
After steaming cups of mulled wine, we crossed Smithfield Square to enjoy a hearty supper of Shepherd’s Pie at Haberdashers’ Hall which was full to overflowing and ringing with conversation. A truly magical and appropriate Christmas evening.
The 2019 Summer Banquet was held on Wednesday 5th June, and this year was back in its favourite home, Mansion House.
Around 160 Feltmakers and guests joined the Master, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress to mark the occasion. Mansion House is always a magnificent place and it looked absolutely resplendent on the night, with everyone in full evening dress.
Welcoming the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress and the Sheriffs to the Banquet, Feltmakers Upper Warden, Jilly Yarrow spoke eloquently. She noted that he is the 691st holder of the role and had seemingly barely touched the ground since his installation, with a whirlwind few months in which he has visited nearly fifteen different countries promoting the City. He commented that he looked very dashing in his tricorn hat, presented to him last November by the Feltmakers, and hoped that he and the Lady Mayoress were enjoying the cross-training machine donated to the Lord Mayor’s apartment by her husband, Sir Alan Yarrow, at the end of his term.
Lady Yarrow went on to welcome Alderman and Sheriff Vincent Keaveney and Sheriff The Hon Elizabeth Green, congratulating the former on his ongoing progression to the Mayoralty. She commented that she was particularly challenged with how to introduce Sheriff Green in a more novel way, deciding to highlight her numerous sporting (rather than career) achievements – representing Gloucestershire and West of England in hockey, Hertfordshire in golf and a fully qualified scuba diver.
In his response, Lord Mayor Peter Estlin, thanked the Company for his tricorn hat which he described as being very close to his heart – although he did venture to suggest that as a tall man, wearing it on a hot air balloon, in close proximity to the propane burner, might not be recommended to future holders of the office!
The Lord Mayor spoke passionately about the theme of his Mayoralty, Shaping Tomorrow’s City Today, in particular, its emphasis on the role and importance of technology in maintaining innovation in the City and underpinning tomorrow’s business – Shape the future rather than be shaped by it. He went on to talk about the charities being supported by the Lord Mayor’s Appeal; Place to Be, Onside Youth Zones and Samaritans and how each makes a significant contribution to wellbeing.
The Feltmakers Summer Banquet is notable for showcasing the winners of the annual Hatting Competition, and this year was no different. Rachel Trevor-Morgan oversaw and coordinated the display and modelling of the winning entries, with the overall winner of the Feltmakers Award 2019, Olivia Johnson Hilton, being presented with her prize by the Lady Mayoress.
We also enjoyed the company of some special guests from the Coventry Cappers who generously brought a cheque for £4,000 for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and welcomed back our friends from Zur Waag in Switzerland.
The evening was capped off by the Ceremony of the Loving Cup and a fantastic flourish of a fanfare from the brass quartet of the Royal Marines Concert Band, who played beautifully throughout the evening.
A wonderful evening of great company, delicious food and wine, entertaining speeches and magnificent surroundings – in the words of my 23 year old daughter as we collected our coats, “brilliant!”.
Report by Louisa Vincent