The Master's New Year Message
I am sure that 2020 will never be forgotten! Things continued as they would have done – celebrating family Birthdays including my 60th, visits and holidays abroad (before March!) and in the UK, the sad deaths of family and friends including my father, working (which is teaching for me), retirement, and, for me, leading church services – but all were very different than anticipated! However there were many new things to do and enjoy – days out, walking everywhere, discovering new local areas, discovering and supporting local businesses, enjoying the garden and eating outside during the fantastic summer, and telephoning, Face Timing, and Zooming friends, and home cooking. The downside has been the growing waistline!
I never thought that I would be sending a New Year message still under pandemic restrictions, with people still working from home, social events banned, and people still unfortunately falling ill from coronavirus. But the good news is that there is a vaccine and I hope that many of you have been offered, and taken the opportunity, to have it to protect yourself, and others. The vaccine also gives hope that we will be able to soon hold events again.
Over the Christmas period I, along with many others, have had time to review and reflect on 2020. What a year! Since my installation as Master, there may not have been any face-to-face events, but we have been very active as a Guild. We have moved quickly and efficiently in our practice to use various ways of communicating, such as Zoom for regular Court and Committee meetings, regular Newsletters, and for the most elderly and vulnerable, phone calls from the Master or Court members! It was wonderful to look back on the many and varied virtual events we have held, the highlight of which had to be bestowing an Honorary Membership on Captain Sir Tom Moore, and the fun and fellowship we have enjoyed over Zoom whilst quizzing, finding treasure, whisky and gin tasting, having tea with the Lord Mayor, listening to informative talks, and even walking the streets of London! Our thanks must go to our fantastic Clerk, Christine Cook, and our fabulous Assistant Clerk, Judith Westall, without whom none of this would have been possible.
Now, I must turn to a sad but exciting announcement. Today, we say ‘hello’ to Jeremy Cross as our new Clerk, which means we are also sadly saying ‘goodbye’ to our Clerk, Christine Cook. As you know, Christine decided to retire this year, always part of her plan, but still a shock and surprise. Christine has been an outstanding Clerk, bringing the Guild up to date with our use of technology, processes, governance and communications, to name but a few, over her four years in post. Booking events online, regular updating of the website, being flexible in all situations, supporting the Court and members - nothing has been too much effort, and all has been conducted with a sense of humour and a winning smile. Christine will be much missed, and we have so much for which to thank her. I am sure that we will see Christine again, but in the meantime, she has kindly agreed to continue to work in the Office to support Jeremy for as long as is needed. From the bottom of all our hearts, we thank Christine for all she has done for The Guild.
Jeremy joins us from the Insurance Recruitment sector where he has worked for over 30 years. He is a Liveryman so has an insight into the workings of the City. Jeremy says that he has ‘big shoes to fill’ but I am sure that he will soon find his feet and be welcomed by us all as he leads us forward on the next exciting chapter in the story of the Guild. We wish him, and his family, well and extend a warm welcome to them all!
Being ever the optimist, I am looking forward to seeing you in person, during 2021, and online by Zoom, at the many events we have planned. Whatever, twists and turns occur in the future, it is wonderful to be part of such a friendly, warm and supportive organisation. So, it remains for me to raise a virtual glass and wish you all a very Healthy and Happy New Year!
Ann- Marie Jefferys