The Master, Wardens, Liverymen, Freemen, Members, Apprentices and guests gathered for the Company’s 2017 Annual Dinner, held this year in Merchants Taylors’ Hall. This is a superb venue, not the first time we have visited, and still it impresses its visitors. Another Livery Hall that has an unassuming entrance and just expands into an amazing venue.
Definitely not at ‘sixes & sevens’ we were welcomed and served royally by the event management team. Merchant Taylors has occupied this site since 1347, it suffered in the Great Fire and in the Blitz, but the Great Kitchen has been in continuous use since 1425.
Our principal guests were Sheriff Neil Redcliffe, Brig Dave Neal, Provost Marshal (Army) and the winner of the Sheriffs’ Award (of which more later).
This year, by kind permission of the Air Force Board of the Defence Council, our event was supported by the Salon Orchestra of the Royal Air Force. The musicians provided a truly memorable performance, playing prior to and during dinner and treating the assembled company to a range of light music.
The reception was well organised with drinks served after members and guests passed the receiving line. This is always an opportunity to meet new members and guests and to renew old acquaintances.
The dinner was held in the Great Hall with four very long tables extending the length of the hall with the top table, across the width of the Hall. The history of the Hall was evident and knowing that the great and good, including many monarchs, had graced the building with their presence over the years just made it all so special.
The evening was made complete with a really tasty three course dinner, with fine wines and great conversation and the customary Loving Cup Ceremony. We were then treated to a performance from the Salon Orchestra, climaxing with a superb rendition of the Post Horn Gallop with the sole trumpeter providing a very animated ‘ride’ up and down the Hall.
Our annual dinner is also a time for ceremony, and it was so good to see the presentation of the RMP (Army) Sword by the Provost Marshal (Army), Brig Dave Neal to Liveryman Neill Catton.
But the Hall came alive when the winner of the Sheriffs’ Award for Bravery was announced as British Transport Police Officer Police Constable Wayne Marques who confronted three knife-wielding terrorists during The London Bridge Attacks; and consequently, suffering severe life changing injuries. Sheriff Neil Redcliffe presented PC Marques with the Sheriffs’ Award Trophy, a certificate and a cheque for £2,500.
Photographs are available from http://sharpphoto.co.uk/f769595395