As one of the newest members of the Worshipful Company of Feltmakers, and enthusiastic to learn more about our Company, I was delighted to attend the Livery Society Dinner and take full advantage of an occasion where I was able to meet other Liverymen in a relaxed and informal setting. On arrival we all received a friendly welcome from the society committee before entering the Main Reception Room to dine. We were thirty altogether and it was good to have two of the past commanders of HMS Lancaster amongst our number.
The room was very impressive, with George Murray murals, bronze sculptures of horses, stain-glass windows, Doric columns, mock balconies and a large chandelier. The tables were round and seated eight to enable us all to talk with each other and make new friends. The menu was exceptional and enjoyed by all. Some of us moved to new tables before taking dessert, again maximising the opportunity to get to interact with as many people as possible.
After the meal Simon Millar proposed the loyal toast to Her Majesty the Queen and then over coffee the Master spoke. He started by asking us all if we were all sitting comfortably, because, as he then said with a smile, “I don’t do short speeches.” The Master congratulated and thanked all those who had served the Company and participated in events over the last year. He then congratulated those who had been appointed to serve in new roles in the year ahead, and encouraged us all to make this year one of participation and “enjoyment”– the Master’s theme for his year.
It was most enlightening to hear about the Silent Ceremony that is held on the day before the Lord Mayor’s show. It was explained that the new Lord Mayor does not officially take office until in the Silent ceremony he puts on his new tricorn hat as supplied by the Feltmakers’ company and presented by the Master. We then heard of the Lord Mayor’s proposal for charitable works and how he is suggesting that all new Liverymen should on admission to their Companies make a legacy however great or small for the benefit of others.
Next we heard of the events and occasions when we could be together in the year ahead. These included the Carol Service in St Bartholomew the Great and the Master’s charitable event at Ascot. Amongst the many other traditional sporting events we also heard of a new venture– the Inter Livery bridge competition.
Our chaplain then said a few words highlighting the sociability of the Feltmakers and that he found our company to be the friendliest Livery. He then challenged us to consider how we might make a contribution to the city in its broadest aspect, thus honouring, upholding and strengthening all that is good within it.
It was a most successful and inspiring evening and my thanks go to Simon Millar and the committee for such a wonderful event.