From the Master – Opening of the St Pauls Garden of Remembrance
As I mentioned at our last dinner, it has been both a pleasure and a privilege to represent the Guild of Entrepreneurs at a slew of events in my year as Master. The Fellowship, the friendship and the fun have been such a joy to experience and I cant thank you all enough for your support and commitment. Past Master Kate Jolly gave me great advice when she said attend as many as you can and don’t regret the ones you cant. The Service at Garden of Remembrance however was one I would never miss if at all possible.
When I say it has been a privilege that is a sentiment that I really mean. To have the hand of fellowship extended by so many across the City and the Livery is an experience that I will always treasure.
Representing The Guild has meant attending a huge amount of events, with our Freeman and outside with the wider community of the Livery. Smaller informal and education events across the City in venues of great variety and ingenuity and of course the great and the good events. With venues from The Old Bailey to Livery Halls to the churches of City the great events and venues have been wonderful.
Perhaps the most wonderful of all the City landmarks is St Pauls, I am never less than moved when I attend, be it The United Guilds service, The Fellowship of the Clergy or any other. Somehow the National Anthem sung there is just fitting.
Today however was, for me at least, the most moving of all City ceremonies with the opening of the St Pauls Garden of Remembrance. As a former serviceman I am very aware of the cost of conflict and to see the City come together led by the Dean of St Pauls, The Very Reverend Dr David Ison, the Lord Mayor, the Right Honourable Charles Bowman is so much more than a privilege. Also in attendance were the Sheriffs and the most senior representatives of the City Police, Ambulance and Fire Brigade and, of course, rank after rank of Masters and Clerks.
The Ambulance Service provided The Honour Guard, The Royal British Legion provided the Colour Guard and the music was provided by the band of the Coldstream Guards and the choirs of The City of London School and the City of London School for Girls.
I always find these events tremendously moving and I challenge anyone not to become emotionally charged when listening to Nimrod from Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Standing to attention for The Last Post and two minutes silence I cannot help but find myself thinking about times and friends past. The hauntingly beautiful theme music from the television series, Band of Brothers, already feels part of the national musical canon of remembrance and it was played by great aplomb by the guardsmen.
Amongst all of the fellowship and fun that we have it is truly moving to attend an event such as this and to stand amongst so many other Masters and Clerks, a great many of whom were also wearing their veteran’s badges and medals, and who were so very obviously remembering fallen friends on a personal note, and on a greater scale the huge sacrifice made by the people of The City, the United Kingdom, the Dominions and Commonwealth.
In this special year, when we commemorate the fallen of the Great War and the 100th anniversary of the end of the war to end all wars, it was a sombre and reflective pleasure to represent us all and plant our cross in the Garden of Remembrance.
(c) Lee Robertson