I have been fortunate to be entertained by a number of other companies during February, on each occasion demonstrating my utter lack of self discipline by enjoying every wine on offer: ideas of a dry February (‘cos it’s the shortest month…) evaporated with the very first dinner and continued unchecked throughout a bucolic month.
A couple of high points to share: firstly attending the President’s Lunch with the FIS which was held in Plaisterers’ Hall and included a presentation of awards to young managers who are already making a difference to their company and their colleagues. In the style of the Oscars (less the dry ice and self serving speeches), the event concluded with a Lifetime Recognition award, on this occasion to Ray Deeks, a long standing member of our Company and doyen of the heritage plasterers, G Cook & Sons of Cambridge. Those who know Ray will appreciate the challenge he faced in keeping his emotions in check as he came forward through the cheering tables and onto the podium… In all seriousness it was a fitting end to the event and a great moment to see one of our own being acknowledged by his peers.
In the last few days the Mistress and I have been down to Lympstone for a second visit to the Commando Training Centre, on this occasion to see the passing out of the King’s Squad. It was such a privilege to join the families of 18 young men who have completed the toughest training course in the World. A few had succeeded in meeting all the requirements without incurring injury and defied the odds by making it through in one attempt; for others the award of the cherished Green Beret was the culmination of a long process, in one case after nearly two years as a consequence of a severe injury. The dedication of all at CTC, the deep professionalism alongside the virtues of good humour and humility is truly inspiring; the challenge for the Corps is to recalibrate the public perception which focuses over much on the physical demands and even now can be a gross distortion of those who have benefited from such a world class training facility.
Amongst the family and friends was Major General Julian Thompson who commanded a brigade in The Falklands War and whom I’ve met before in Jersey and London. General Julian reminded me that he was one of the first contingent of Marines who used our Hall when the Master at the time invited those participating in the Victory Parade to return to us for lunch. It was the beginning of a long standing affiliation of which the Company is rightly very proud.
Timothy Cooke OBE