Dear Plaisterers, have a joyous Christmas staying safe and well. For some, including myself this will mean spending Christmas home alone. It could be that you do not easily fit into three bubbles, or you have simply decided that having come this far, you do not want to give up control over your space in the homes of others. Family and friends will understand. For those enjoying time with those who care for you, relish every minute.
As I write this Blog, I learn that London is moving into Tier 3. The timing could not have been worse for our hospitality sector and its’ workforce. It will have a calamitous effect on businesses and livelihoods. A miserable Christmas for many, I fear. This is a reality check. We cannot afford to let our guard down. We have been euphoric about the vaccine, but its beneficial effect will only bear fruit when the nation has been vaccinated and that will take time. Meanwhile, we are in for a long hard winter, but there is hope for Resurgence in the Spring.
During this week it was announced that the March, 2021 United Guilds Service which had been cancelled, was now re-scheduled for the 21 May 2021. Let us take heart from this announcement and hope May 2021 will kickstart the livery year. 2021 is an extremely important year for our Livery Company, because it marks the 50th Anniversary of the Laying of the Foundation Stone of Plaisterers Hall. We hope to celebrate this at our Banquet on Friday, 28th May, 2021. Please ensure this date is in your diary. The laying of the Foundation Stone, was the first step in the construction of our magnificent Hall and like our Hall we have strong foundations to weather any storm.
Be assured fellow Plaisterers, whilst our Hall has been closed, the Clerk’s Office has remained open and the Clerks, the Court and all our committee members have been meeting as usual, discussing and planning for the future. Individuals who serve on those committees have stepped up to the plate and in their own time have created the membership surveys which we have recently completed; reviewed and developed our database, as well as updating our statistical data; progressing with the formation of the Young Livery Group; updating and improving our website; measures that will assist the Resurgence of our Livery Company in 2021.
I said at Robing that we would make a Virtue out of this Virtual Year and we are doing exactly that. But we have only just started.
How we would like our Livery Company to look at the end of this pandemic and in the future is an open conversation. That conversation only started with the Surveys. As a member of this Company, you have a voice and you will be listened to. Collectively the message is more powerful. Since April, I have been exploring with our younger members (45 years of age and younger) whether there was an appetite for a Young Livery Group. There clearly was.
In August, potential members of that group completed an on-line Survey and the results were loud and clear. YES, to a Young Livery Group; YES, to being actively involved in Committees and with our Charity; YES, to becoming Stewards; YES, to promoting diversity; YES, to an atmosphere of openness and clarity with regards to progression within the Company.
It was good to learn that our younger members are enjoying the experience of livery life and are happy to bring family and friends along to our events. However, they want to enhance that experience and widen their circle of contacts and influence within the Company. We are so lucky to have members with such ambitions and drive. The YLG now has a page on our website; a LinkedIn page and profile and Liveryman, Megan Manzi is heading up a ‘founders’ group’ and I cannot wait to hear their ideas and aspirations for the group.
We are currently reviewing the results of the General Members Survey. The Chairman of the Membership Committee will be sharing those results with members in the Members Information Evening on the 28 January, 2021. Another date for the diary and an opportunity for Plaisterers to join in the conversation and share ideas on how they want our Resurgent Company to look.
What is common to both Surveys is the importance of formal dining in our Hall. We Plaisterers certainly understand and enjoy dining in our own theatre of decorative plasterwork, showcasing the neo classical style of Robert Adam. A truly wonderful setting in which to share fellowship and dine with members, family, friends and working colleagues and acquaintances.
A setting that will be even better in 2021, with a new Entrance Hall, that will prepare members and visitors alike for what is to come as they make their way to the Livery Hall and the Great Hall. Hang on to that thought because it will become a reality in 2021.
For now, we live in the moment and that is the Festive Season which for me began at our Virtual Carol Service on the 2nd December. Carols is the time when I take stock, get away from shopping lists and food menus and remind myself of the true message of Christmas. During the virtual service, we heard some of the traditional Christmas Lessons; the Homily from our Chaplain and the perfect voices of the choristers of St Paul’s and Peterborough Cathedrals.
We had an opportunity, albeit remotely to sing those carols we have known since childhood. The singing of familiar carols, those joyful songs, unite singers and listeners alike. Carols have an intimacy to captivate us, bring us together, evoke good memories and generate a feeling of wellbeing.
The Choir of Peterborough Cathedral sang ‘What Sweet Music’
‘What sweeter music can we bring,
Than a carol for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King’
The Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral sang ‘I Sing of a Maiden’.
‘He came as still
Where his mother was
As dew in April
That falls on the grass’
It has a deeply significant religious meaning but April also signifies springtime and renewal. In these challenging times let us take HOPE from this. Let us Hope that by April next year, there will be a regeneration and renewal for us all. A Resurgence of the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers in 2021.
Merry Christmas Plaisterers and HOPE for a better New Year.
Stay Safe. Stay Well.
Let Brotherly Love Continue