On the 18th September, the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Very Rev’d Dr David Ison, held a Reception in the Nelson Chamber to thank and celebrate the generosity of the Cathedral’s closest supporters, including the Plaisterers’ Company.
Prior to the Reception, seats were reserved in the Choir for Livery Companies supporting specific Choristers for Choral Evensong which was beautifully sung and very moving to watch and listen to. I was very proud to observe our Chorister, 9-year-old Oliver Davies. Following Evensong, we were invited to meet our Choristers and have a group photograph at the high altar.
Plaisterers, I am pleased to tell you, young Oliver is a worthy recipient of our support, which is now into a second year. He told me he lives and studies at the Cathedral and is subject to a regime of early rising; rehearsals at 8am; a full day at school; Choral Evensong at 5pm; supper and bed by 8pm. He did let slip there was time for football! Oliver proudly wore his Plaisterers’ Badge and his knowledge of our crest would shame some of our members. He knew the tools – the plaisterers’ hammer, brush and trowel. The 2 mythological creatures he said ate sheep. Having previously said his bedtime was 8pm, I thought it ill-advised to tell him they ate Choristers! We parted by Oliver quoting the Company’s Motto, ‘Let Brotherly Love Continue’ I was completely under his spell. Oliver has not visited our Hall. Let us hope we see him at Carols.
The Cathedral’s choir does not receive state funding and is open to all who have talent, irrespective of background. Our giving helps fund bursaries.
The Plaisterers’ Charity also supports the Cathedral’s Music Outreach programme, lead by Tom Daggett, a good friend to our Company. Tom is the Musical Director of the Choir Church at St Paul’s Church of England Primary School in Whitechapel. This outstanding, yet deprived school serves the diverse communities of Wapping, Shadwell and Whitechapel. The musical initiative, supported by our Company and St George-the-East began in 2017. I met Tom at the Dean’s Reception and he assured me the Choir goes from strength to strength. Who will forget the Court Dinner in July 2017 when the very young members of this choir performed in a pre-dinner recital. They were not at all over awed by their surroundings but they sat in awe of the St Paul’s Chorister who also sang for us that evening.
Our giving has been a hugely positive development for St Paul’s Whitechapel; for the children’s development and their links to the wider community.
Our giving is acknowledged and valued by St Paul’s Cathedral.