Friday, 11 October 2013
St Florian's Installation Banquet Thursday 10th October Worshipful Company of Firefighters
Cutlers Hall is always a superb venue for a livery dinner and my husband and I were invited by the Master Firefighter Beryl Jeffery as principle guests, along with the Master Bowyer and Sir Nicholas Young, Chief Executive of the British Red Cross.
We were met at the door and hosted by the Immediate Past Master. Talking to my fellow guest, the Master Bowyer, I was reminded that the Bowyers have the tradition of a Master serving two years, not one. Whilst this helps with achievement of longer term plans in providing additional continuity, it also doubles the work involved and in a larger Company like the Marketors, this might be a challenge if combining with full time business commitments.
St Florian is the Patron Saint of Firefighting, as well as being the Patron Saint of Poland. Legends abound of people who have been saved from burning after invoking the name of St Florian. During the Diocletianic Persecution of Christians, reports reached Rome that Florian, a Roman Army Commander was not enforcing the proscriptions against Christians in his territory. Aquilinus was sent to investigate these reports. When Aquilinus ordered Florian to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods in accordance with Roman religion, he refused. Florian was sentenced to be burned at the stake. Standing on the funeral pyre, Florian challenged the Roman soldiers to light the fire, saying "If you do, I will climb to heaven on the flames." Apprehensive of his words, instead of burning Florian, he was executed by drowning in the Enns River with a millstone tied around his neck.
I last saw Sir Nicholas at the Tower of London whilst awaiting to be bailed in the “Jailed and Bailed” and we had a good conversation over dinner. He delivered an excellent toast to the guests, detailing how the Red Cross is increasingly working in conjunction with Firefighters and assisting with the practical immediate aftercare of those who have lost their homes through fire. The Red Cross was recently involved in the aftermath of the Nairobi shopping centre shootings assisting victims.
It was interesting to learn that the Fire Brigade, a uniformed body, also has an official formal mess kit for officers as their evening uniform.
Altogether an excellent well organised event which was most enjoyable in a hall abounding with elephants and tusks.