Two events in the City of London year have just occurred. The Sheriffs' Breakfast where the ingoing and outgoing sheriffs handover and the Election of the Lord Mayor where the candidate for the mayoral year starting in November is confirmed.
First, the Sheriffs' Breakfast, slightly confusingly starting at 12.45pm. Because of the size of our Livery Hall, it can seat 270, it is a popular venue for this gathering of the City's 'great and good.' Alderman David Wootton and Peter Cook have now stood down and replaced by Alderman Fiona Woolf and David Sermon. I had no part to play in the the breakfast ceremonies and was in the pleasant position of being the recipient of plaudits about our Hall and of the highly efficient, professional and courteous way that John Freestone and his team handle a big complex function.
I conclude with the poem in the inimitable style of Pauline Halliday, a past sheriff and Master Farrier and currently Deputy of Walbrook Ward, that concluded her speech when she toasted the health of the new sheriffs and their spouses:
From Drapers' Hall thence to the Old Bailey
Now to live and work by the sheets that come daily
Fiona, Nicholas, Richard and Rosemary begin their year
A tremendous team they will be and of great cheer
This I must now complete as I try to be in good time
So let us all here salute them with a glass of wine.
Second, the Election of the Lord Mayor which took place in Guildhall on Wednesday morning. This was preceded by a church service at St Lawrence Jewry. It is both a ritual with over 800 years of tradition and the moment at which the Livery of the City declare their support for the mayoral candidates. A hugely colourful ceremony with the broadest pallette of colour provided by the robes of the 108 masters of the City's livery companies. Alderman Michael Bear was elected Lord Mayor following which there were the traditional sppeches of thanks and appreciation. The highlight of these was HRH The Princess Royal, who is a strong supporter of the City livery, this year she is Master Butcher, giving a speech of thanks for the outging Lord Mayor, Alderman Nicholas Anstee.