Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Worshipful Company of Distillers Wednesday 24th July

Off to visit the delightful Apothecaries Hall where the Company held its Spring Dinner on 30 April.  It was the evening before our Mansion House luncheon to the Lord Mayor and there was much to finalise. However, it was also a blistering hot day and the Clerk and I felt we could do with some light refreshment!  We walked into the Courtyard of the Hall and were greeted by the Distillers Clerk, Edward Macey-Dare, who speedily arranged for us a very welcome Gin and Tonic. This event was the Distillers' Company's (No 69) annual Spirits Tasting event with 200 of the finest spirits in the world to taste, some of which retail for several thousands of pounds.   The IWSC (International Wine and Spirits Competition) is the oldest London wine and spirit competition and is held in the highest regard by the world's spirit companies.  The UK plays a major role in this and London is the management centre not only of the largest international spirits company, but also of many of the famous brands owned by overseas companies.  The Distillers is ideally placed to play an active role in its traditional trade. The evening could be as serious or as social as one chose, with the offer made to me to 'nose' in a proper stillman's manner, which rather suited me and preferable to actually tasting! The Master and the Company members were delightful to meet and, as one would imagine, the hall was packed with eager tasters.  I did decide to cut the evening quite short, despite being encouraged to sign up to a Master Class on Scotch Whisky and Japanese Whisky with Brandy and Cognac thrown in!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Court Dinner with the Worshipful Company of Insurers Thursday 18 July

I was delighted to be a guest, with the Learned Clerk, at this excellent dinner at  Tallow Chandlers Hall for Masters and Clerks. Guests of the Master, Rick Hudson, also included Masters and Clerks of the Tallow Chandlers, Tax Advisers, Mariners, Tobacco Pipe Maker and Blender, Chartered Secretaries, Wheelwrights, Security Professionals, Broderers, and the Company of Educators. I was pleased to hear that the Company of Educators are progressing, having recently written a letter of support from the Marketors.  Our Past Master, Sir Paul Judge is supporting them to Livery.  The purpose of the evening was purely one of Fellowship and thanks for the company most of us Masters had already shared at Ironbridge in June. I was also delighted to meet the Clerk of the Insurers who I had known from our business careers. Seated between the Junior Warden and a Past Master of the Insurers I reflected on my recent visit to the Worshipful Company of Firefighters where I had first fully understood the traditional links between the two Companies.  The Learned Clerk and I left and, as usual, I was kindly escorted to my bus home. A very good evening.

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor: St Paul's Cathedral Thursday 18 July

This Annual Service of Dedication takes place in the delightful Chapel of St Faith in the Cathedral Crypt. While the processional order itself almost fills the Chapel as it comprises the Knights Bachelor themselves, with the Knight President, Principal, Treasurer, Registrar and others.  As I attended last year, I was aware of the symbolic nature of the Spurs (made of oak and brass), the Sword of Chivalry (with a device on the scabbard to ensure that it can be part-drawn) and the swallow-tailed Pennons - all laid on the altar for the service. Knighthood is the oldest non-Royal title of honour : the first knights probably received their accolade in the tenth century. Founded in 1908 the Imperial Society celebrated its Centenary by the dedication of a new Knights' Chapel in St Paul's Cathedral. The chapel was created within a disused space in the Crypt and provides a beautiful place of worship within yards of the tomb of Sir Christopher Wren, Knight Bachelor and architect of the Cathedral.  The Bishop of London gave a superb sermon on the significance of anointing and enlightenment in the context of the Coronation in 1953 of Her Majesty the Queen. The Choir was magnificent, as one would expect, as was the generous hospitality shown afterwards! A very special occasion.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Academy of Marketing Life Achievement Award (Honorary Life Member of the Academy of Marketing) Thursday 11 July

I was invited to attend the 2013 Academy of Marketing Conference that took place in Cardiff this year from 8 - 11 July.  However, with a prior engagement at the General Synod of the Church of England in York I was unable to join the conference until the final day.  I was impressed by the over 400 attendees as well as the breadth and variety of the marketing topics covered and the academic thinking taking place on the present issues in our profession. Next year's conference will take place in Brighton. Several Marketors were present and the Conference Chairman was Freeman John Egan, Professor of Marketing at London South Bank University.

The Conference Dinner took place at Cardiff City Hall and I was delighted to be presented with a superb brass plaque from Dr Caroline Tynan, my tutor on my MBA some twenty years ago, in respect of a Life Achievement Award from the Academy, in recognition of 'extraordinary and distinguished services to Marketing', and to be recognised as an Honorary Fellow of the AM and Life Member of the AM (HLMAM).  I felt very humbled in the company of such luminaries as Professor Malcolm MacDonald and Professor Phil Harris, previous recipients of this Award and fellow Marketors.

Friday, 5 July 2013

VIP Visit to the BBC Wednesday 3 July

Continuing on the Master's theme of Great Brands make Britain Great, the Marketors arrived at New Broadcasting House in Portland Place for the first VIP tour since Her Majesty the Queen officially opened the new building.  We were met by our tour guides, Lorraine Dance and Simon, both brilliant interpretors of the magical world of Radio and TV. We first visited the original Broadcasting House to see the supoerb art deco refurbishment.  The sculptor, Gill, created in 1928 the statues of Prospero and Ariel to sit above the entrance porch. Did you know that Ariel was subject to the first BBC cutback? We returned to New Broadcasting House and overlooked the absolutely enormous Newsroom where Nick Porter, News Duty Operations Manager, gave an explanation of the layout of both the Newsroom and the Weather area. As Murray's match was reaching to five sets the six o'clock news was postponed until the tennis finished over an hour later.  The people in the newsroom were watching and waiting to deliver their 'packages'!  We then visited other areas of the building, including the balcony of the old building, a scene of many activities over the years and still in use.  NBH is the most amazing place one can imagine to work in.  We saw the 'railway carriages' (meeting rooms), creative pods, resource centres, kitchen areas,  as well as meeting rooms named after a wide range of BBC presenters, from Alistair Cooke to Frank Gillard, where we had refreshments and met with Matt Taylor, weather presenter on News at Ten.  Matt, like all his fellow weather presenters, is on secondment to the BBC from the MET office and comes with a huge knowledge and experience in every subject from the Gulf Stream to forecasts for military operations. For his three minute slot he preforms without a script as weather changes are frequent and unpredictable. Matt escaped from us admirers to get back to the studio in time for his next broadcast. I got back home after our visit and just in time to see him on the late news.  The hospitality, food and wine provided were excellent and we returned to reception where there was the opportunity to “have a go” at reading the News and deliver a Weather report!  After several attempts we decided to thank our hosts, Simon and Lorraine, and left after some three hours of sheer fascination, education and entertainment.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Worshipful Company of Marketors Golf at Verulam, St Alban's Monday 1 and Tuesday 2 July

The Worshipful Company of Marketors Golf Day is now in its sixth year, thanks to the immense hard work and efforts of Senior Warden, Michael Harrison, ably supported by Peter Short and Peter Morrisoe, and a number of generous sponsors. So popular is this annual event in the Marketors and Livery calendar that two days are required to allow some thirty Companies to participate.  I was delighted to be able to attend the first day, in glorious weather, and present some fabulous prizes at the dinner. I presented one prize to a student from St Dunstan's College who had received a Cadet Award on Saturday 30 June at the school's Contingent Dinner that I had attended!  I was pleased to support the Lord Mayor's Appeal by presenting an award for the longest strike. Several Masters were present, including the incoming Master Stationer, Tom Hempelman, who played on the eve of his installation!