Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Lord Mayors Show


Our office in Paisterers Hall was the opening scene. I was there early, complete with bacon sandwich and coffee, allowing in and greeting those Marketors who were about to experience the delight of being a part of the 2012 Lord Mayors Show. There was a slight drizzle but as we walk out in full regalia to join our float that stopped. The Show has occurred for more than 800 years with only two missing years, the Great Fire and Wellingtons funeral. Its original purpose was to show the new Lord Mayor, the corporation and the trades to the City. It is the longest, largest and, of course, oldest parade in the world, and I first appeared in it on a Stock Exchange float precisely 50 years ago to this day.

And so to the float, so named because, way back when, Shows took place on the Thames. Ours was magnificent. It was one of the longest vehicles, and with the addition of the marching Cadet Corp was one of the longest presentations over all. The Marketors Coat of Arms and my theme of "Marketing: the Business Driver" were in full display as was reference to our partners the Chartered Institute of Marketing and St Dunstan's School. While I had seen pictures of the proposed float, viewing it for real was a very emotional moment as was seeing the Cadet Corp band, and Army and Navy contingent marching in front of us for the first time.

The parade travelled, in our case, from London Wall, then past the Guildhall and the Mansion House, around by St Paul's and up Fleet Street, past the Courts of Justice to the Aldwich where we stopped for lunch. For everyone, all 6,000 of us, this comprised of a small bag containing a sandwich, a bag of crisps a biscuit and a drink. The benefit of being a Liveryman was that the Master Mariner had invited us onto HMS Wellington to eat our packed lunch, washed down with a little of their bubbly. And so back, but via a slightly different route taking in Blackfriers. 

Well that described it - but how did it feel? Pride was the overriding emotion, of course coupled with excitement, and delight. The crowds were, in places, six deep and seemingly all eager to wave and cheer and to be waved and cheered back at. To smile and wave for almost three hours may seem like a strain but when a sea of faces are doing the same then you don't feel a thing - until you stop. The real delight is seeing the faces in the crowd. There are some you know, be they family, friends, livery or dignitaries you have met, and all are joining in the excitement. But it is the tens of thousands of strangers who are equally eager to be a part of the celebration. The great thing is that you can connect with individuals as you travel, despite the distance from them and the fact that you appear to be in a moving balcony. 

The children of St Dunstan's must have a mention. They were excellent and their teachers and parents must have been very proud. I have already described the Cadet Corp and their precision performance, so this time I turn to the children who were our "out riders", or walkers to be precise. Once they overcame their surprise at the reaction of the crowds they first responded by waving back and then started to "high five" the children that lined the route - brilliant. Unfortunately our second partner on the float could not attend as they had mistakenly organised their students Graduation for the same day, but the CIM's name certainly made an impression on the crowds.

I must not forget the Marketors and their families and friends who gathered at The Wine Tun which  overlooked the route opposite St Paul's. While a great view from their first floor vantage point, many poured onto the street to wave to us from the barrier, and what a wonderful sight they all were. I understand that they then returned to a three course lunch and some refreshment. Indeed they were still refreshing when those of us in the Show finally reached the restaurant in mid afternoon.  

So, an extremely proud day for me and for the Company. We, the Marketors, have taken our place in another of the City's great event. As always this would not have happened without the team of people and sponsors who put so much time and effort into producing the Marketors entry. Thank you all. I am sure you will agree with me in my mentioning one person in particular, Junior Warden Michael Harrison, who again brought it all together - thank you Michael.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

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