Lest we forget

On Monday 8th November the City and 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 Victoria Russell’s chairmanship.

In a break from tradition, an early morning Muster was arranged at Plaisterers’ Hall. This proved to be very popular and there was a tremendous turnout with 239 attending the Muster and Breakfast at 09:30. After refreshments and a speech by the RBL President, General James Bashall, everyone was then ‘organised into processional order’ by RSM, Honourable Artillery Co. RHQ. WO1 David Davies, and our wonderful ‘Brace of Beadles’. The ensuing Procession of some 250 people consisted of 12 RBL Standard Bearers, over 200 Livery Masters & Clerks, and 25 other Dignitaries. It was an amazing sight to watch this procession make its way from the Hall to the New Change Gate of St Paul’s and then line up ready for the service to begin. Over 390 attended the Service and then more than 150 returned 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 40 attended. This also really helped to engage youth in remembrance. The Cadets came from City of London Police Cadets, City of London Academy Islington, City of London School, 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 Paul’s, beautifully accompanied by a band of the Grenadier Guards and choirs from City of London School and City of London School for Girls.

There was an amazing diverse collection of people from all walks of life involved in this years’ 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 grants to the RBL, St. Paul’s and the COL Police Voluntary Cadet Unit for their valuable support.

Thanks are owed to so many, in particular the COL Open Spaces team, St Paul’s Event team, RBL Standard Bearers, the School Choirs, the Cadet Units but the biggest thanks have to go to David Barrett, Secretary to the Fellowship of Clerks for the unbelievable about of work and ‘behind the scenes’ preparation that he undertook.

The Working party consisted of Victoria Russell; Garden of Remembrance Committee; David Barrett; Jonathan Grosvenor, Chairman Fellowship; Christian Jensen, Committee on Military Matters; Dep Philip Woodhouse CC Livery Committee Chairman; Julia Sibley, Livery Committee Deputy Chair. 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 2022 event!

Photos courtesy of Graham Lacdao/Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral

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