The September Court Dinner is known for its cheerful and relaxed atmosphere, and the 2018 dinner, held on Thursday 20th September, was no exception.
It is the last dinner hosted by the Master during their year of office, and significant liberty is extended to the Master of the day to reflect wryly on their year so far.
Preceded by historic ceremonies to admit the Guild’s first Honorary Freeman and Honorary Historian, and to admit five new Freemen, Freemen Entrepreneurs and their guests thronged Bakers’ Hall for drinks and dinner. The bill of fayre was enticing and plentiful – a delicate salmon mousse, crisply roasted chicken and rich chocolate tart – and accompanied by broad and charming wines. The Master, Mr Lee Robertson, was pleased to raise his glass firstly to the Guild’s new Hon. Historian, Mr James Mellor, and then to the new Freemen, Manny Cohen, Efe Eghobamien, Mark Layzell, Lisa Seymour and Paul Vousden.
Following a warming glass of port and an invigorating cup of coffee, the Master was himself introduced. The Master spoke very freely of his pleasure at welcoming such distinguished guests, and paid tribute to Lady Judge, who had been admitted as an Honorary Freeman earlier in the day. It was especially fitting that the Guild should welcome Lady Judge in the Ward of Tower, which was represented by her late husband, Sir Paul, as Alderman for a decade. He paid tribute to the Clerk Emeritus, Adele Thorpe, who had reported to the afternoon’s Court Meeting on a strategy for fundraising for the Guild of Entrepreneurs Trust, and underlined the Guild’s commitment to philanthropy and its charity.
The Master confessed to have felt rather humbled by the entrepreneurial verve and success of every Freeman he had admitted during his year so far, and was delighted to finally announce that he had taken the plunge in selling his established business, and starting two others. He was excited to be back at the coal face of business after more than 20 years, and he looked forward with evident satisfaction to growing these projects in the years to come.
Those present who recalled the speech of the Master’s predecessor 12 months before, were justifiably anxious to observe a Scot brandishing poetry, and there was heartfelt laughter and applause as the Master, with his characteristic self-deprecation, flamboyantly pocketed the epic he had prepared to recite. Amidst good-natured encouragement from the top table, however, the Master relented and regaled the assembled company with a few choice couplets, expressing familiar truths in the business of enterprise.
To further applause, the Master concluded his speech by encouraging the Freemen and guests to join him in the sumptuous Gallery of Bakers’ Hall for refreshment and discourse long into the evening.
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