Your Master became a statistic on Friday, 29 January when I received my first Pfizer Covid-19 jab. Members of a certain age will know what I mean when I say it is a very overwhelming experience. Feelings of relief, privilege, gratefulness and pride consumed my senses in the seconds it took to deliver that precious vaccine into my arm. The engine room for the roll out of the vaccine was a converted Magistrates Court in the London Borough of Bromley, manned by medical professionals and volunteers and how sweet that engine ran. Professionals and volunteers working in complete harmony, for the common good. If only we could put that in a vial for dispensing.
Sadly, this momentous event was followed by a scam email arriving in my inbox, purporting to be from the Plaisterers’ Company. Regretfully, many members received this email too. Unfortunately, any response produced further emails requesting information that should have alerted the recipients that this was a scam. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for this virus, so members please remain vigilant and if in doubt always delete it out! I am grateful to the Clerk’s Office for getting onto this so quickly issuing warnings to everyone.
By way of an update, the Clerk is conferring with our IT Company and has reported the matter to the NCSC (the police cyber crime unit).
Dear Plaisterers, I cannot report on a lively social calendar for January. My diary continues to remain clear but primed! It is now six months into my Master’s Year and I am yet to grace anyone’s table, or meet up in person with our affiliates and friends. The Officers of the Company have had their year extended, which means we all remain in office until July 2022. I remain optimistic of achieving a near normal livery year as Master for 2021-2022. That does not mean I have written off 2020-2021. I still fervently hope our Banquet in May will go ahead. Please continue to watch out for event updates from the Clerk’s Office.
Three virtual events happened in January, the Court Meeting on the 12th; the Wine & Cheese Tasting on the 20th and the Members Information Evening on the 28th.
There was a full attendance at the Court Meeting, apart from Past Master De Bradshaw who unfortunately went back into hospital on that day, having been taken ill on New Year’s Day. I am relieved to report that De is now back home in the care of Steven. I know how popular and loved De is and have sent to her all our best wishes for an early and full recovery. The Clerk has sent flowers.
The Wine & Cheese Tasting was fully reported on in the newly formatted Clerk’s February Newsletter, by Liveryman Heather Dix, who made a far more agreeable host than Harry and his dog Murphy (you will have had to have been there to get that!). Thank you, Heather, for the informative article and keeping us entertained! Thank you to everyone who attended and making it such a fun evening and for contributing to my Master’s Charity.
There was an excellent turnout for the Members Information Evening, with 77 members zooming in. These evenings are a new innovation, with the purpose to inform and promote enquiry and discussion. The first such meeting held in October informed members of the significant impact Covid-19 was having on the three entities of the Company – the Livery, the Plaisterers’ Charitable Trust and Plaisterers’ Hall Ltd.
The January Information Evening produced a brief update from me on how the Company continued to ride out the Covid-19 storm, together with Powerpoint presentations from Past Master Tim Cooke on the results of the recent Membership Survey; Megan Manzi on the aspirations of the Young Livery Group and the Deputy Master Alderman Alison Gowman on her Shrievalty Year. It is the intention of the Clerk to update much of this on the website and the Survey Results have been given additional coverage in the Clerk’s latest Newsletter.
I am a great believer in transparency and openness. These Information Evenings provide members with an opportunity to ask questions and have their say. Whilst not billed as an Information Evening, the next event in the livery calendar is a Presentation by the Plaisterers’ Charitable Trust on the 18th February. There will be a series of presentations from the recipients of our giving and from the Charity Steward, Past Master Peter Baker. We know from the Young Livery Group and the General Members Surveys that members support our Charity, but not necessarily the focus of its grants.
The incumbent Master is appointed a Trustee of the Charity and I became a Trustee last July. Giving is an important part of livery life and it should be an important part of our Livery life. We all know that giving is not limited to financial giving. It is also about the giving of your time, skills and sometimes just ideas. Once our recipient guests have finished their presentations, we will move on to the open forum part of the evening, when the Charity Steward, supported by the Trustees will field your questions. It would be good to have an open and constructive discussion, on how we might best increase the funds of our Charitable Trust and the sort of good causes you believe the Trust should support. I hope we will not be in need of those ‘vials of harmony for the common good’
I will end my Blog by reminding Plaisterers of the very generous acts of giving by the late John Robinson, a Liveryman of this Company. During his time as a Liveryman, he made considerable financial donations to our Charitable Trust in support of the plastering trade and training.
The Enhancement of our Entrance Hall Project which started in January and due for completion on the 22nd March, also comes as a gift from John, in the form of a substantial bequest he made specifically for this purpose. He was never a fan of our Entrance Hall, which he thought was not in keeping with the splendour of what was ‘below stairs’. We will hear more about this generous man in the coming months.
Sad news about another generous man, that of Captain Tom. The news of his death has just been announced. I finish my Blog saddened, but grateful to men like John and Tom.
Let Brotherly Love Continue