Lest We Forget…….
On Monday 6th November the Livery Committee’s Garden of Remembrance Service took place in the garden of St Paul’s Cathedral. This event, one of the most meaningful and popular in the Livery calendar, has until this year, been organised by the Royal British Legion. When the RBL announced that they were unable to continue with the service for 2021, the Livery Committee at the request of the Lord Mayor took up the mantle and decided very quickly that this event must continue, they formed a small working party from the Fellowship of Clerks and Livery Committee who took on the organisation under Vicky Russell’s chairmanship.
An early morning Muster was arranged in St Paul’s crypt. This proved to be very popular and there was a tremendous turnout with over 250 Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiff and Clerks and dignitaries attending the Muster and Breakfast at 09:30. After refreshments and speeches by Deputy Philip Woodhouse, chair of Livery Committee and Lynda Atkins, National Vice Chair of the RBL, everyone was then ‘organised into processional order’ by our wonderful ‘Brace of Beadles’, John Cash and Jon Perkins. Over 350 attended the Service consisting of the full Civic Party, 12 RBL Standard Bearers, over 200 Livery Masters & Clerks, and 25 dignitaries. After the service more than 100 headed to Plaisterers’ Hall for a delicious buffet lunch.
Very aware that encouraging diversity and inclusion is one of the top challenges of the Lord Mayor and the RBL, the committee took the decision early on to involve Uniformed Youth Cadets, and were delighted that over 32 attended, representing the City of London Academy, Islington (HAC) Combined Cadet Force; The City of London School Combined Cadet Force and City of London Police Cadets. This also really helped to engage youth in remembrance and the committee were so pleased that all three services were represented.
As usual, named wooden crosses that had been sourced from the Poppy Factory were labelled and made ready for the planting ceremony. The Service was led by the Dean of St Pauls, beautifully accompanied by a band of the Grenadier Guards and choirs from City of London School, City of London School for Girls and this year the City of London Academy, Shoreditch Park.
During the service, before he laid the first cross, the Lord Mayor delivered the address, and we are delighted to be able to include it here:
Vice Chair, Mr Dean, Fellow Alderman, Sheriff, Ladies and Gentlemen…
We gather this morning to remember all those who have laid down their lives in service to this country, paying the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live freely and without fear of oppression.
Together, we also remember those who have suffered great loss and who continue to serve in operations overseas.
They are in our minds today, and always.
Indeed, while their legacy is all around us…
…it is fitting that we meet here, in the heart of our City…
…and in the shadow of one our nation’s great monuments…
…to reflect, mourn and pay tribute to them, the fallen.
The hymn we have just sung is about transformation…
…giving hope that even out of the darkest sorrow and suffering can come beauty and understanding.
While the poppies we proudly wear every November are a symbol of our collective grief, the funds raised by them will provide hope, support and care for serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.
They embody our shared commitment to ensuring that their sacrifice has not – and never will be – forgotten.
It is an honour, in one of my final acts as Lord Mayor, to join you in this beautiful garden…
…created, with The Royal British Legion, by the City Livery – who do so much to support our Armed Forces.
Together, we remember those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom.
We give thanks to those who continue to serve and risk everything for our protection.
And as a City, we will continue to ensure their sacrifices are not in vain.
There was an amazing diverse collection of people from all walks of life involved in this year’s service. To mention just a few, we loved the brilliant band, the brace of Beadles, the cacophony of choirs, the collection of cadets, loads of livery, a multitude of masters, not to mention the Civic Party!
The Livery Committee is extremely grateful to the many companies and guilds who have generously contributed a donation to cover operating costs and enabled the committee to be able to award substantial grants to the RBL and St. Paul’s Cathedral for their valuable support.
Thanks are owed to so many, in particular Open Spaces team, St Paul’s Event team, RBL Standard Bearers, the School Choirs under the wonderful direction of Richard Quesnel, Director of Music, City Schools, the Cadet Units and of course the working party.
The Working party consisted of Victoria Russell, Garden of Remembrance Committee Chair; Dep Philip Woodhouse CC Livery Committee Chairman; Julia Sibley, Livery Committee Deputy Chair; Nicholas Westgarth; David Barrett; Kate Pink, Chairman Fellowship of Clerks; Christian Jensen and Christine Cook, Secretary Fellowship of Clerks.
The Livery Committee were delighted to have organised this very special event this year, by the livery with the livery for the livery and are already planning for the 2024 event!
Photos taken by: Andy Sillett Photography