Monthly Archives: May 2014

22 May : PMA Reception

I attended the Property Marketing Awards committee meeting which was then followed by an early evening reception at the RICS for the Sponsors of this years Awards. The reception was kindly organised by Liveryman Barry Gilbertson in conjunction with the RICS whose support was much appreciated.

The evening provided an opportunity for the Judges and Sponsors to meet each other and  the Committee. the venue was the roof terrace at Great George Street which proved highly impressive to the guests.

Thank you to Colin Peacock, Trevor Goodman of the Estates Gazette and everyone of the Committee for all their hard work  to ensure that the PMA Awards on 26th June at BAFTA will be a huge success!


21 May : Royal Garden Party

Rain threatened all morning, however the clouds parted as if by divine intervention to allow a wonderfully sunny afternoon at Buckingham Palace. Mike and I were delighted to be accompanied by our children Sophie and Max, who looked resplendent: Sophie had a superb hat replete with tiny lizards which drew a lot of admiring glances (Philip Treacy eat your heart out!) as did Max, who didn’t have a hat or lizards, but looked handsome in his suit.


The witching hour of 3 pm came and despite long queues snaking around the palace perimeter, we found ourselves whisked inside by some friendly police. Wearing the Master’s medal obviously helped, especially on occasions such as this! The guests promenaded around the grounds and many listened to the two bands which played throughout the afternoon. At 3.50 pm precisely, the Royal Party, led by Her Majesty came into the garden and greeted the many men and women who had been waiting to be introduced to her. We saw many fellow Masters and their families, together with friends from the City and Andre Cox, General of the Salvation Army, of which I am a Trustee.

The afternoon flew by all too quickly. It was a magical time for my family, especially for my daughter who had travelled down from Manchester especially for the occasion and for Max who is now in the full throes of A level revision!


15 May: Guildhall School of Music annual Competition

A smallish, but enthusiastic group of liverymen and guests witnessed three young students sing a mixed repertoire of music. As always, the School had generously provided refreshments for us beforehand. The judges this year comprised the renowned opera singer Amanda Roocroft and Mary King, who is famous for her training of young people and has begun a music academy in Plumstead, South East London. The audience was well supported by students and teachers from the School.

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The first soloist, Soprano Eliza Safjan, sang a glorious mix of arias and solos. Mention must be made of her Rachmaninov which was so moving and quite spectacular. The other two soloists were mezzo sopranos, Grace Durham and Emily Kyte, whose choices of pieces were incredible for such young women: Grace sang Handel and then a cheeky piece by Poulenc about a woman who went to Monte Carlo; Emily Kyte wowed us with her Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens and ended with a fun, clever piece by Leonard Bernstein.

Decision as to the winner was obviously difficult as both Judges asked for extra time. In the end, Grace won both the Judges’ and popular vote.

This was a superb example of why our support is so important to these young people. I do hope more liverymen will feel compelled to attend this special event next year.


14 May: St Bartholomew’s Hospital View Day

The annual View Day started just after 5pm with Evensong at the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great. It was packed with Governors and Staff of St Barts, together with Alderman and  Sheriff Lord Paul Judge, plus Masters.

The ‘View Day’ is steeped in history, having been held every year since 1551, without cancellation.
Barts Hospital, as we know it today, as been part of the community in the City since the early Middle Ages and special ‘presentations’ have taken place since then, formally coming into being when the Governors, Physicians and Surgeons took part in the procession of showing patients to the public. Fortunately, this practice has been discontinued and today, the Community gives thanks to Rahere, the Founder of Barts and Clergyman to Henry 1, followed by a reception in the magnificent Great Hall of Barts.

A number of guests visited the Radiotherapy and Cancer Units during the evening. I visited the Cancer Unit, which is designed so that women, in particular, can be referred to the Unit and following Scans by the latest equipment, may receive a diagnosis the same day. Increasingly, men are also referred to the Unit for checks on their breasts.

A most interesting evening.


13 May: Festival of the Sons of the Clergy

St Pauls’ was packed for the celebration of the Sons of the Clergy charity. Now in its 136th year, it is one of the oldest charities which was established to support clergy and their families.

Three choirs lead the singing as well as various anthems, including one by the late John Tavernor, which sounded as if it had been written in the Middle Ages; it was sublime.


12 May: Ballet Central at Covent Garden

Ballet Central are currently showcasing their best students in a tour around England. Mike and I were lucky to be invited to see them in action at the Linley Studio, Covent Garden. The School performed a mixture of classical, musical( Carrousel: shamelessly romantic) and profound modern dance to commerate the First World War.

It was an evening for their families and supporters. I noticed a number of Royal Ballet staff, including former ballerina Monica Mason, who is now on the Staff and Sarah Lamb( no relation). Obviously talent spotting.

Our own Bursary student, Luna, danced in several pieces and is a credit to us all.


7 May: Prizegiving at Robert Clack School, Dagenham

A wonderful evening celebrating Year 12 and 13 at Robert clack School, many of this year’s leavers have secured places at the Russell universities. It was heartening to  share the evening with so many proud parents, teachers and of course, the students.

Sir Paul and his staff were visibly moved. We too are proud of our continued association.


6 May: “True and Fair” Lecture given by the Chartered Accountants Company

An early evening lecture at Chartered Accountants’ Hall, entitled ” Integrity and the Non-Executive Director”. Dame Alison Carnwath DBE gave an enlightened talk on Boards and how they can go wrong at times, providing a glimmer of some of her successful and not so glowing experiences. She is a most polished and interesting speaker and took questions from the floor for over half an hour afterwards.

Thank you to Michael Fowle CBE, the Master Chartered Accountant for the kind invitation.


6 May: Central Foundation Girls School: Meeting with the Head

Amanda and I met up with Esther Holland, headteacher of CFGS since 2011. We had a most useful meeting with her and heard about the changes that she has been putting in place since her appointment.


2 May: The Blacksmiths annual livery dinner at the Mansion House

And so to the Mansion House again, but for a more formal evening. I was kindly invited by the Master Blacksmith, Adrian Oliver, with whom I studied at South Bank many years ago. The Lord Mayor, Alderman Fiona Woolf was present and replied on behalf of the guests.

The Egyptian Room was packed, with friends and families, making for an intimate evening. We dined superbly and were entertained by the London Banqueting Ensemble with a three horn Post Horn Gallop, most entertaining and a fitting end to the week!


1 May: Female Leaders in Property Dinner at the Mansion House

The Lord Mayor, Fiona Woolf played Host to a unique dinner: 100 female property leaders were invited together with 20 specially invited men.  The aim of the evening was to raise money for the Lord Mayor’s charity, Working Chance and for the Master Pavior’s charity, Families of the Fallen.

Following tours of the Mansion House and a champagne reception, we made our way to the old ballroom for dinner. The room looked resplendent with round tables and candles.  A sublime dinner was cooked by renowned Chef, Angela Hartnett and her team. The wines were all made by women and included a Volnay and an amazing Spaetlese. The atmosphere was party-like (women know how to enjoy themselves!) and the volume increased as the Auctioneer was announced: no less than Jeffrey Archer, who was so good, that he could potentially forge a second career. By now, the evening was in full swing and the men were, frankly, outnumbered!

The evening had a serious side with the keynote speech from Julia Killick, Governor of Holloway Prison, followed by a  former offendor whose life had been turned round by the ‘ Working Chance’ charity. Julia Killick stressed how important support is for female offenders: very often, they are disowned by their partners and are alone when they are released back into society. Working Chance helps rehabilitate women by providing them with training and advice. The third and final speech was given by Senator George Mitchell who spoke passionately about his experience in Northern Ireland and the effect that the now famous Peace Talks had on women whose lives had been torn apart by the Troubles.

Fantastic evening, excellent company and a big thank you to Master Pavior, Nigel Kempner, for organising it.


1 May: Big Curry Lunch Reception at The City of London Club

The Lord Mayor hosted a reception to mark the fantastic success of the Big Curry lunch. Over £165,000 was raised, some 750 people attend the lunch this year, which is a lot of curry and cobra beer! ABF, the Soldiers’ Charity does so much for servicemen and their families and our Company is proud to be a part of this magnificent event.