Monthly Archives: October 2015

Engineers Annual Banquet 30.10.15

photoThe Engineers Annual Banquet at Mansion House was a glittering occasion. The full Civic team were present and I was delighted to find myself seated next to Alderman Charles Bowman. Excellent fare and speeches were from the Master Engineer, The Lord Mayor and Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford. Music was a spirited performance by The Live Brass Quintet.

It was super for me to be a guest at a Dinner hosted by my husband’s Company which meant that I knew a high proportion of those present.


Service at Westminster Abbey 29.10.15

The Abbey was full for a splendid occasion to commemorate the 600th Anniversary of The Battle of Agincourt, attended by HRH The Duke of Kent and HRH Princess Michael of Kent. We had an address by The Bishop of London, one reading by Robert Hardy and an actor in battle dress delivered the king’s speech from Henry V. After the service we proceeded  to Church House for a jolly reception with many of the VIPs and the other livery companies.


Musicians’ Company Dinner 20.10.15


A delightful evening for Masters and Clerks at the splendid  Mercers’ Hall. The Master Musician gave a most gracious speech, her guest speaker was  Colin Thubron and we were entertained by the very lively Kaleidoscope Saxophone Quartet.


Installation Dinner 19.10.15

Harpist from The Guildhall School of Music

Harpist from The Guildhall School of Music

One of the most amazing evenings of my life. The Drapers’ Hall did us proud last night, everything was splendid. I was delighted to welcome so many distinguished guests including 14 visiting Masters and so many liverymen and friends. We were entertained delightfully by The Guildhall School of Music and our two speakers Sir Gavyn Arthur and Sir John Armitt.


National Trafalgar Day Parade – Trafalgar Square London, Sunday 18 October 2015

When I was at school, Trafalgar Day was one of those dates drummed into you and although it was never celebrated, the 21st October was always known as an important and historic day. It was therefore very special to be invited as your Master to the Trafalgar Day Parade at Trafalgar Square, beneath Nelson’s column, to celebrate the victory of the British fleet over the French and Spanish at the great sea battle at Trafalgar but with the sadness of Lord Horatio Nelson’s death — shot by a single musket ball from a French sharpshooter from high up in the rigging.

By coincidence, this August bank holiday just passed, I spent a week at Burnham Market and went for a few drinks at the Lord Nelson pub in Burnham Thorpe which is where Nelson had his farewell party in 1793 before setting off to sea for the last time. His Father was the Rector of three churches in the Burnhams, the other two being in Burnham Market. Sadly Nelson’s Father died when he was only 9 leaving him an Orphan as his Mother had died when he was just three. So began Nelson’s journey to becoming the World’s most celebrated naval officer when he was sent to sea at the tender age of 13.

210 years after his death at Trafalgar I am sat below Nelsons column in the second row alongside Vice Admiral Sir Jonathan Todd the former Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the British Royal Navy fleet and Rear Admiral John Clink the current Flag Officer Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland and Sea Training Royal Navy. By coincidence Vice Admiral Todd was part of the aircrew selection panel when I applied for my RAF Flying Scholarship so after some 43 years I was able to thank him for selecting me.

We were treated to an hour of physical training routines, marching and massed band displays primarily by the Sea Cadets who had travelled from all around the country to be with us. The last item on the programme was the service of hymns and prayers conducted by the Sea Cadet Corps Chaplain Reverend Graham Hitchins who also just happens to be the Rector of the Church at Burnham Market where Lord Nelson’s Father was Rector!

Immediately following the event I was escorted by my two new Admiral friends through St. James’s Park to Wellington Barracks where speeches, awards and a marvellous buffet lunch was served. Despite being a keen sailor somehow I have never felt as close to the sea and Nelson as I have on this day.

A very fitting end as my last official engagement as Master of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors before the Court Meeting on Monday 19th October. I have indeed had a wonderful year and loved every minute of it. What a privilege and pleasure it has been to hold this office.

Graham F. Chase Master


Committee Club 313th Dinner, Tuesday 13 October 2015

At over 100 years old the Committee Club is one of the three oldest Surveyors clubs in existence. Designed to be a ginger group to keep the RICS on track and in touch with its Membership one might argue that it’s need is as great now as it has ever been.

A select dinner in the Carlton Club in the prestigious and quite exquisite ground floor dining room this was a daunting task with 50% of the diners being Chartered Surveyor Liverymen including the Father of the Livery, Past Master and Committee Club Father Professor Alan Gillett who chaired the event, Past Master Michael Baker and no less than 3 members of the Court. The other diners however had no links with the livery and not a clue what it was I stand for or do as Master for a Livery Company. So a wide variation in knowledge to say the least.

My brief was to say a little about the Livery and City of London and my year in office as I have only 5 days left before I hand over to Lady Davies.

I referred to the role of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, the existence of 110 Livery Companies, 39 Livery Halls, our own livery approaching 400 Members with 100 Freemen, the fact that the Liveries and Mayor raise over £50 million a year for Charity, The Lord Mayor makes over 20 overseas business visits and receives some 140 overseas delegations during his year and with the City of London responsible for generating about 20% of UK GDP.

I stressed the Livery was not about me as Master but as an organisation we support 18 university student bursaries, 200 apprenticeships through CSTT, 4 London Schools with grants and mentoring, We promote the Property Marketing Awards and are movers and shakers as a modern company in the Livery movement.

I gave the assembled diners some insights into my year as follows:

Allied & Associated Liveries lunch initiated, organised and hosted by the Chartered Surveyors Company at Apothecaries Hall with the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs.
The Lord Mayors Show.
The visit to Guildhall and the Magna Carta.

Low point:
My gown not arriving at the Sons of the Clergy Service at St Pauls and therefore being unable to process with the rest of the Masters.

Most Surprising:
Visit to RAF Wyton and meeting Air Vice Marshall The Lord Beaverbrook and a fly past at 100ft of the Battle of Britain flight Dakota resplendent in invasion markings.

Most unusual:
Jailed and Bailed in the Tower of London by the Sheriffs and having to parade through the tourists guarded by the Beefeaters whist chained to 30 other Masters and only being released on a fine of £2000 for charity.

Most daunting:
The three formal Livery dinners which secured a total of 700 attendees.

Most moving:
The Company’s Centenary carol service at St Lawrence Jewry on the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WW1 and the story told by our Beadle, Jimmy James.

Other memorable moments:
Livery Hall Walks — all 39 of them a distance of some 12 miles covered.
Sea Cadets Marching Band at the Tower of London.
Knights Bachelor service in the Crypt of St Pauls.
Behind the scenes visit to St Pauls with the Surveyor to the Fabric of St Pauls.
Theatre visit — American Buffalo.
Guildhall School of Music production of Guys and Dolls.

All of that was probably enough to send many of the guests to sleep but equally a few more have asked about Membership so you never know!

Graham F. Chase Master


135 Geographic Squadron and 42 Engineer Regiment – Expedition to Mongolia, Thursday 8 October 2015

Mongolia is somewhere we have all heard of and know roughly were it is but few would be able to pronounce the capital of Ulaanbaatar and fewer still would know how vast a country it is being the second largest landlocked country on earth at some 3,000 miles across at its broadest point.

One of the requirements of service in the armed forces is that you involve yourself in training were it is appropriate to operate at high altitudes and work at the edge of your qualifications. Therefore spending 18 days under canvass at 2,900 metres and climbing 3 peaks over 4,000 metres across a moving glacier satisfies both these tests for most humans that I know.

We were given a fascinating presentation of the expedition by several members of the 12 strong team that took up the challenge, brilliantly lead by Captain James “Nessie” Smith and explained in  great detail by Sapper Victoria James. On the night they had the support and attendance of officer in Command of 135 Geographic Squadron Captain Charles Wasilewski and Commanding officer of 42 Engineer Regiment Lt Colonel Nicky Bell. If was also wonderful to welcome Commander Phil Neville of HMS Echo and his wife Sue who had just flown in from Gibraltar where he had left the ship earlier that day.

The photographs and videos of the expedition and the scenery they encountered were fascinating and exhilarating and one can see why a number of candidates do not make it through the selection stages at the preliminary training camps held in the Cairngorms in Scotland. With temperatures ranging between -5c and +30c this is not a picnic but a serious look at survival where lives are quite literally on the line. To make the point and for a bit of fun, everyone on the expedition gets thrown down a crevasse just so as to get used to how it feels to be rescued.

My respect for these men and women simply grows when you see the pressure they put themselves under and makes me proud that we are indeed fortunate to have them as our affiliates.

My thanks to David Reynolds who organised the event and GVA Bilfinger who hosted and provided us with a very full selection of wines, beers and great food. A most entertaining, educational, thought provoking and satisfying evening in very good company

Graham F. Chase Master


Visit to 7010 Photographic and Intelligence Squadron, RAF Wyton, Saturday 3 October 2015

A special day for me as it is 30 years since I hung up my RAF gliding instructor goggles at RAF Halton following on from an RAF Flying Scholarship and 12 years flying as a private pilot. As my chosen career at 18 was to be a pilot it is something of a miracle that I became a chartered surveyor but both choice and circumstances resulted in a very different career. I have absolutely no regrets but walking back onto an RAF aerodrome for the first time in 30 years did make me wonder “what if” I had put my signature to the form in front of me that would have sent me on a 16 year commission!

One thing I do know is that it would not have given me the ability to be a member of a Livery Company and run my own business so the “what if” very quickly became a “so what”!

I had a splendid day as the guest of 7010 Photographic Interpretation Squadron at RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire in near perfect flying conditions. Squadron Leader Stuart Tarlton is OC 7010 but we learnt that day, during the after lunch speeches from Inspecting Officer Air Vice Marshall Lord Beaverbrook, that Stuart will shortly be joining him at HQ in central London together with promotion to Wing Commander. Congratulations and well deserved.

My thanks also to Flight Lieutenant Mike Flory for looking after me so well and ensuring I did not contravene any official secret requirements which on an operational base specialising in intelligence gathering and interpretation is a serious subject matter.

The highlight of the day was the fly past of the Battle of Britain Flight Dakota DC3 resplendent in its white striped invasion markings with that idea I seem to recall taken from the markings on pigeons wings for rapid flight speed recognition. It took three passes right over us and you can see some of the pictures taken by Flt. Lt. Norman Gray who from the quality of the shots is well placed in 7010 Photography squadron.

Lunch was a truly sumptuous affair and as usual if you want a great place to eat and drink on a Royal Airforce establishment always head straight for the Sergeants Mess.

I was privileged to make the Achievement Award for Excellence and asked to say a few words about the links between 7010 Sqn, our Livery and the City of London. It was a very proud moment and one I shall remember for many years although I doubt of many of the 150 Officers men, women and guests of 7010 will but it took me back to my roots as well as reminding me of how important and a privilege our links are with our Armed Forces Associations.

Graham F. Chase Master