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Bowyers' Own Carol Service, Wednesday 10th December 2014

60 Bowyers, family members and friends gathered at St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate for the Company's Carol Service on Wednesday 10th December 2014. This was a significant occasion since, for many years, the Bowyers have celebrated Christmas at other churches in the City in conjunction with other livery companies, and this was first time that they have held their very own Carol Service at their home church.

Since the early 17th Century, the Bowyers were associated with St Nicholas Cole Abbey where there is a memorial to the Company's benefactor, James Wood, who died in 1629. After a change of use for the church in the 1980s, the Bowyers found a new home at St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate through the connection of their then chaplain, the Rev'd Prebendary Alan Tanner, who was Rector of St Botolph 1978-1997. The Bowyers confirmed their association with St Botolph with the gift of the Bowyers' Window that was dedicated in 1997 to mark the completion of the restoration of the church following the extensive damage caused by the St Mary Axe bomb of 24th April 1993.

At its Carol Service the Company enjoyed a very high standard of music from the six-strong resident choir and from the organist, Edward Tambling. Lessons were read by Professor Jonathan Perks MBE (Freeman), Dr Steve Dowbiggin OBE (Liveryman), Mark Elliott (Court Assistant), Clive Arding (Past Master) and the Master, the Rev'd John Hayton TD. The service was taken by the Company's Chaplain, the Rev'd Dr Alan McCormack, who explained in his sermon that the Bowyers' Carol Service was his 11th so far and that he was looking forward to completing a total of 27 carol services by the end of Advent. He did however succeed in making us feel we were special, and wished the Company well.

After the service, everyone retired next door to St Botolph's Hall to enjoy drinks, canapes and mince pies.

Simon Leach

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