Agincourt Dinner, A Royal Occasion
It was a full house at Tallow Chandlers Hall for the Agincourt Dinner on Thursday 23rd October and a double delight to have two distinguished guests to be with us an celebrate the great victory of Henry V nearly 600 years ago.
The Master had the great honour to greet our principle guest, The Duke of Gloucester, at the gate of the Hall and proceed to the Court Room and introduce His Royal Highness to members of the Company, the two visiting Masters Mr. Tom Hempenstall of the Stationers and Mr. Stephen Kirk from the Wheelwrights, together with our guest speaker the Rt. Hon Mark Francois, Minister of State for Defence.
The procession into dinner had a different slant from the usual in that there was a 'bugle call' by one of the cadets from Lordswood School CCF in Birmingham, getting the evening off to a rousing start.
Once all were seated the assembled had the enormous pleasure of a ten minute display from the 13 CCF drummers who were also joined by seven students from the Pakistan Scouts Cadet College, Islamabad who were in the UK on an exchange visit.
After grace by our Chaplain, the Rev Dr Alan McCormack, a splendid dinner was served that culminated with a traditional Loving Cup that was filled with Calvados to remind all of the area of France where both the battles Crecy and Agincourt were fought.
We were then entertained by Mr. Matthew Palmer and Mr. Christian Dawson from the Guildhall School of Music who encouraged everyone to join in with singing some traditional English songs including that fine piece of music, The Bowyers Song!
Prior to the speeches there was presentation of a silver salver to the Master by the Head of the Pakistan Scouts Cadet College, Brigadier Hafeez, an unexpected but most thoughtful gesture.
Court Assistant Dr. Sinclair Rogers warmly welcomed all the guests in an amusing address before all present were treated to a most entertaining and thoughtful reply by Mark Francois. The Master concluded the formal part of the evening with a few well chosen words that included a presentation of a gold watch to our Past Clerk Richard Wilkinson in recognition of his service to the Company over the years.
In the Stirrup Cup afterwards there was much good bonhomie at which His Royal Highness met with members and guest prior to departure after what many have commented on as a special evening with 'Such Goodly Company'.