Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Queen's Garden Party


With thousands of other people attending we knew what to expect - crowds. As we entered Buckingham Palace we were not disappointed. Rows of couples in their Sunday best queueing to enter through the "front door". The garden was bound to be crowded too but, as it was more a park then a garden, this was not the case. The afternoon started with a leisurely stroll around the grounds, occasionally meeting fellow Livery people, we even had time to sit on a bench under a tree and people watch. 

We of course knew that, because of the numbers there, we were unlikely to get more than a glimpse of the members of the Royal Family. Again how wrong we were. From the Palace three pathways were established in the crowd, down which the Queen, the Duke and the rest of the Royal Family respectively walked to their tea in the tent by the lake. We were amongst the crowd awaiting the passing of the Queen when the family in front of us were removed to talk to Her Majesty. So a front row view for us of a charming lady.

We then moved to the Dukes pathway which was eventually joined by the Royal Family one right by where we were standing. So all the Family members there paraded past us. And yes even including the Duchess of Cambridge. All, that is, except the Prince of Wales who spotted the Master Marketors chain and came over, shook our hands and had a chat about livery companies. A truly memorable occasion.

Obviously we had to have tea, after all 27,000 cups are served at each event. This coupled with the perfectly made sandwiches, the cake and strawberry ice cream, and the perfect weather, rounded off a never to be forgotten day.

John Flynn
Master Marketor    

Monday, 28 May 2012

Jailed in the Tower


Bail having been posted for me, I was released from the Tower of London early this afternoon. Prior to this, along with several other Masters, I was lured into the Mansion House in full regalia only to have my misdemeanours read out for all to hear. In order to protect the innocent I will not go into detail other than to  advise that mine involved Macbeth and Mabel.

 A ball and chain was then attached to our wrist by the police and we felons, including the Lady Mayoress, were transported in an old police bus to the Tower where we were paraded through it in single file much to the confusion and delight of the vast number of camera wielding tourists. We were then fed and watered and having secured bail, had our finger prints taken before we were sent on our way with a warning.

As you will hopefully have guessed this was not as serious as it sounds in that it was charity drive on behalf of the Red Cross which I understand raised more than £30,000 from donation provided by our respective Companies and from friends. To say that we were fed bread and water is not quite true in that the lunch was excellent and the "water" was of a particularly good vintage. So a lot of fun was had by all and a worthy charity received a boost. An all-together worthwhile afternoon.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Plaisterers and the General


The Plaisterers Hall is, of course, our home in that it is where our Clerks office is located. It also gives us the prestigious address of One London Wall. It was therefore a double delight to attend the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers Annual Banquet, particularly as we were one of only three Livery Companies so invited. Accompanied by the Mistress, Brenda, and also the Clerk, Adele, we were warmly greeted by the Master, Peter Baker, and his Wardens. An excellent four course dinner followed by both entertainment and speakers of a high order. In particular General Lord Dannatt who gave a fascinating incite into his lengthy career. It really was genuinely interesting and strengthened the resolve of those there to support our armed forces.

While the Loving Cup and the Stirrup Cup were familiar, there were two interesting additions to the proceeding for us; the inclusion of snuff, which everyone seemed to try to varying effect, and the circulation of a rose bowl. New to us but clearly not the Plaisterers. So the question is, should the Marketors consider them for future events? 

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Friday, 18 May 2012

The Roundtable


To be honest the table was oblong and in the Guildhall, so not particularly close to King Arthors seat. However, the cameradery, or as we know it fellowship, was in abundance. The occasion was the briefing for new Freemen, an opportunity for them to gain an insight into the Corporation of the City of London, the way the Company works, the opportunities for them to get involved and progress in the Company, and the intriguing topic of event etiquette.

In all there were twenty new Freeman in attendance who, in addition to hearing from Wardens, Committee chairs, and Freemen who had become involved with the company, also heard from the Chairman of Policy and Resources for the City of London Corporation, Stuart Fraser. His was not just a historic view but a real insight into the way the City works and how it relates to its communities both at home and abroad. The final presentation was from the Clerk, and was a revelation for the new members. From dress codes to dining etiquette, they were introduced to the way members and guests should conduct themselves and, more importantly, why.

The evening ended with a tour of the Guildhall's imposing medieval Great Hall. The largest and most impressive room, it is where royalty and state visitors have been entertained down the centuries since it was originally built in 1411. Despite the Great Fire of London and the Blitz the structure, with the exception of the roof and most of the windows, is original. A fitting end to an excellent event. 

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

St Paul's and the clergy


Sons of the clergy recognised that there was a pressing need for charitable help for the clergy and so they set up the Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy. One of their first actions was to establish an annual Festival which included the Festival Service. This was back in 1655 which is why I was attending the 358th Festival.

The service was held at St Paul's Cathedral and was attended by the Lord Mayor, Archbishops, Bishops, Sheriffs, Aldermen and the Masters and Prime Wardens of over 80 Livery Companies, all of whom paraded in fully gowned - a magnificent sight. The Mistress's of the Companies were also in attendance in a prime location. The service, which included two choirs in addition to that of St Paul's Cathedral, perfectly reflected the splendour of the surroundings. It even encouraged the congregation to raise their voices, although in my case not too loud.

In all a memorable event which contributed to a worthy cause.

John Flynn
Master Marketor    

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Arbitrators Charter


As we have learnt in the Marketors, receiving the Royal Charter is a significant stage in the life of a Livery Company, which is why I was honoured to be invited to the Worshipful Company of Arbitrators banquet at which Prince Michael of Kent, on behalf of the Queen, presented the Company with its Royal Charter. A suitably magnificent event, it took place in the delightful Plaisterers Hall which is of course our home. The Arbitrators are ninety-third in the list of Livery Companies in the City of London (to our ninetieth) having been formed in 1981 although, as with Marketing, the skill has been practised since ancient times. 

As befits a Royal Charter event the guest list was a veritable who's who of City dignitaries, led of course by the Lord Mayor, Alderman David Wootton and closely followed by the President of the Supreme Court Lord Phillips. However thanks must go to the Master of the Arbitrators and his team for creating such an impressing and musical evening. 

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Old Bailey


I was a little concerned when I received a request to attend the Central Criminal Courts at the Old Bailey, that is until I realised that it was an invitation to lunch with the Judges from Alderman Alan Yarrow, Sheriff of The City of London. In all there were nineteen judges and officials and four guests, so the conversation flowed. With 18 Courts handling some 1,700 cases per year, one of the topics was that of past cases, however the primary concern of the day was the strike of prison officers which restricted the flow of accused and had caused some of the Courts to close.

The Central Criminal Courts, which are owned and maintained by the City of London, date back to the 12th Century, the name Old Bailey originating from the Norman "baillie" or fortified place. Having been destroyed during the Peasants' Revolt, ransacked in the Gordon Riots, burnt down in the Great Fire of London and severely damaged during World War II it still stands to dispense justice.

Following the lunch we were offered the opportunity to see the Courts in action. In this case is was the beginnings of a murder trial in which there were four accused. This was a fascinating experience in terms of viewing the process and procedures, and particularly in observing the detail into which the prosecution delves.  

John Flynn
Master Marketor

City U and the Lord Mayor

And so to the Mansion House again. This time at the invitation of the Chancellor of City University who happens to the the Right Honourable The Lord Mayor Alderman David Wootton whose home it of course is. And what a magnificent home. With over 300 guests, of which about 20 were from Livery Companies, the annual Chancellor's Dinner was a full capacity event with what could be regarded as a full capacity of speakers - four in all including the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor, a student speaker and Lord Putnam who presented the keynote address. All were interesting and all seemed to be to time in that the evening concluded with a Stirrup cup. While a celebration of the 118th year of City University and its position as one of the top 2% Universities in the World, the theme also looked ahead, in particular to the University's Vision for 2016.

Interestingly the Marketors have for some time had a close relationship with City University and in particular the Cass Business School, to which the Marketors Trust award a bursary which currently stands at £10,000 per annum. The recipients receive their award at a Ceremonial Court prior to a Marketors Great Event, one of which is a dinner at the Mansion House with the Lord Mayor.

So, in all, a most delightful evening in stimulating company. The next visit to the Mansion House will be our own Banquet on the 19th July.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Friday, 4 May 2012

Distilling Wisdom on China


And so to the Worshipful Company of Distillers "City Debate" which took place in the Great Hall located at 60 Victoria Embankment, the premises of J P Morgan. The topic was "China is the Heart of Asia" and the opening speaker was our very own Martin Riley who is a Freeman of the Marketors and CMO of Pernod Ricard. He set the scene perfectly with an array of statistics which painted a very clear picture of the opportunities and threats for those seeking to expand in China. That the drinks industry is one of the few where the investment in marketing can reflect in the movement of the share price made the four speakers all the more interesting. However, there were two statistic that came out which gave some of us cause for concern. The first was that overall the UK do more trade with Ireland than the whole of Brazil, Russia, India and China, and that our European partners have a greater share of, and greater impact in, China than we do. The unasked question was how to get UK business to approach the market in the way those addressing us do. 

On this occasion the Mistress accompanied me and, as usual, we found the hospitality and the fellowship delightful. And as you might expect, the after event drinks were something special. 

John Flynn
Master Marketor   

Subalterns Thinking and Curry


Regrettably there were a number of Marketors events which I had to miss recently due to not being quite as fit as I hoped. As before, I feel that they deserve a mention in my blog as they were organised, attended and enjoyed by Marketors. Also I would like to thank Senior Warden Sally Muggeridge for deputising for me.

The first of these was the Subalterns Evening on the 19th April which was organised and hosted by Fujitsu.  A remarkable evening by all accounts with a total of 18 Marketors attending, all Freemen, with the exception of the three Wardens. After a reception, our Senior Warden, Sally Muggeridge welcomed the 30 fellow diners from 151 Regiment and Fujitsu and during the dinner they received background presentations from Simon Blagden MBE Non-Exec Chairman, Fujitsu Telecommunications, and Lt Col Adrian Lee, CO 151 (London) Transport Regiment. Later Capt. Kim How of 151 explained the logistics of the London Olympic Game on which he had been working, and Cpl Bonnie Dacre, who had recently returned from Afghanistan, addressed the winning of hearts and minds and also the inherent dangers in working there. 

Finally, Major General Mark Poffley, Hon Col 151 (London) Transport Regiment summed up the evening and fielded questions and everyone departed much later than planned with a much greater understanding of 151’s role both at peace and at war. Great pity I missed this particularly as I worked for Fujitsu for many years.  

Next to the Think Tank Seminar on the 23rd April at Chicago Booth. Despite heavy rain the turnout was about 35 with a good mix of members and guests. The speakers, who were both winners of the Marketors Trust Awards, addressed topics of real interest to the audience. This was reflected in the Q&A which lasted 40 minutes. Apparently there was a real sense of engagement and everyone had a chance to participate. As always there were drinks and substantial canap├ęs afterwards but apparently everyone talking so much that they didn’t drink the planned amount of wine – must be a first for the Marketors!

And so to the The Army Benevolent Fund (ABF) - now called The Soldiers Charity - and the Lord Mayor's Annual Curry Lunch on 26 April at the Guildhall or as it was renamed for the occcasion “The Lord Mayor’s Diamond Jubilee Big Curry Lunch”. HRH The Duke of Kent was guest of honour and, with practically every Livery Company represented, plus a great many other dignatories, the receiving line was long. Eventually released to follow the curry aromas to the Great Hall there was also there an astounding array of glittering prizes up for auction - from cars to dinners, holidays etc and two stunning necklaces donated by the Goldsmiths.  Sadly neither the Deputy Master or the Clerk were successful in winning anything. However the amount raised is likely to be over £225,000.  By many accounts an enjoyable, if occasionally chaotic, event which I am sad to have missed.

I am delighted to advise that these should be the last events to which I will have to send my apologies. I am really looking forward to the rest of my year  

John Flynn
Master Marketor