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Bowyers' St George's Civic Banquet 2016

The first lesson an event organiser learns is 'always finish on a high' with the audience demanding more. That certainly was the case in respect of the current Master's final fling at Fishmongers' Hall on Wednesday 20 April 2016.

Two years past, whilst planning the events for his Mastership, the Revd John Hayton boldly and following a family association with the Fishmongers' Company, selected the prestigious Fishmongers' Hall as the venue for his finale as Master. A bold step some might think, when considering the size, expense and uncertainty involved, not knowing at that stage whether or not such a venture would command the support of the membership. As it transpired such doubt proved foundless. The Livery together with their guests rallied and attended in numbers not achieved for many years, resulting in a sparkling event of 'Edwardian Splendour'.

The evening commenced with the usual Champagne Reception at 6.45pm dinner was preceded by trumpet fanfares by Mr Stephen Fletcher and musicians of The London Banqueting Ensemble, who with amplified strings and piano, played traditional music throughout a sumptuous repast, accompanied by fine wines, which all contributed to the warm and convivial ambience of the evening. The Sung Grace, National Anthem, Loving Cup and Post Horn Gallop were but some of the features.

Court Assistant Alderman Sir David Wootton, Lord Mayor Locum Tenens for the evening, responded to the Master's Civic Toast in his usual relaxed, humorous style but with a powerful message regarding the wellbeing of the Company, and just one or two references to both his and the Master's native Yorkshire. He expressed the apologies of the Rt Worshipful The Lord Mayor who was in Scandinavia on official City business.

The Toast to the guests was proposed in most eloquent fashion by Liveryman Lt Col Richard Martin MBE. The response being given by a very special guest, Lt Cdr James Hyde RN, the senior engineering Officer of the Company's adopted Royal Navy ship, HMS Northumberland. He updated the Company on the ship's wide variety of activities, in a humorous but informative way. He later remarked that 'he thought that he was attending a small wardroom style dinner, not an event of such splendour'.

For the last time the retiring Clerk proposed the toast to the Company to which the Master responded in his usual vibrant, humorous and enthusiastic manner. A fitting end to a highly successful, busy but thoroughly enjoyable two year Mastership.

In true Bowyer fashion the assembled Company joined the Master and Wardens in a 'Stirrup Cup' before departing home in a somewhat flushed, relaxed and contented frame of mind, looking forward with anticipation to future Company events.

The official party at Fishmongers' Hall, from left: Brian Francois, Clerk; Ian Spring, Renter Warden; Mrs Theo Spring; Rt Worshipful Sir David Wootton, Lord Mayor Locum Tenens; Revd John Hayton TD, Master; Mrs Veronica Cooper; Lt Cdr James Hyde RN; Mrs Enid Kench; Tony Kench, Upper Warden; Revd Dr Alan McCormack, Chaplain; Paul Tredgett, Beadle.

Brian Francois

More photographs from the event may be viewed and ordered from photographer Michael O'Sullivan's website, using this link:

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