Installation Dinner - 13 October 2015 - Stationers' Hall
Due to its fickle nature it is quintessentially British to comment on the weather and on this occasion despite grey clouds it remained dry as the be-robed official party made its way to St Martin within Ludgate on Ludgate Hill for the now traditional short Church Service and Blessing before the Installation dinner. The Company has a close association with St Martin’s church. The church itself dates back to medieval times. It was repaired in 1623 only to be destroyed in the Great Fire. The current building, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was completed in 1684 but underwent major rebuilding works in the nineteenth century. Like St Paul’s it suffered little damage in the second world war. The service was conducted by the Chaplain Rev’d Canon Philippa Boardman MBE and provided a fitting foundation for a memorable evening.
After the service the company gathered at Stationers Hall another building destroyed by, and rebuilt after, the Great Fire. It, like so much of the City, was badly damaged by the Luftwaffe only to be returned to its former splendour in the 1950s.
At the earlier Court meeting Mike Jeans and Clive Parrit had been sworn in as Senior and Junior Wardens for the coming year. The receiving line for the reception saw the debut of latter in an official capacity.
Once seated in the fine Livery Hall proceedings began not with Grace but the Installation of Mark Spofforth as Master. The new Master then proceeded to invest the Immediate Past Master David Illingworth with the Past Master’s Badge. Events then returned to the normal pattern and a most splendid dinner was enjoyed by all. The first task of the new Junior Warden is to formally welcome new Liverymen, which proved to take longer than usual as seven had been clothed at the Court Meeting:- Kathryn Britten, Leslie Farrar, Steve Knowles, Jayne Mould, Bib Spedding, Gary Taylor and Terry Winter. The Senior Warden then welcomed all the guests and those of the Company by name with particular reference to Martin Richards QPM. Martin then replied on behalf of the guests using his experiences as Chief Constable Sussex and previously Warwickshire to great effect.
The formal events concluded with the Master presenting the Sword of Honour to the outstanding young officer of the year from the Company’s affiliated RAF unit 47 Squadron.
The evening was rounded off with a Stirrup Cup and the unanimous opinion that it had been a memorable evening with which to start the Master’s year.