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Lord Mayor's Bulletin 1 Jun 20

Fellow Liverymen,

This will be my fourth bulletin to the Livery since the COVID19 lockdown period began. As ever, the Lady Mayoress and I hope that this newsletter finds you well and safe. We have been grateful for the ongoing direct communications and good wishes we have received from the Livery and look forward to finding different ways to continue our fellowship with you. We very much encourage your continued input, suggestions and feedback, which can be sent to me and my team at Mansion House via [email protected].

From this week it will become a little easier for families and small groups of friends to gather in a safe way. While normal life may still be some way off, the City of London Corporation is working closely with business and Government to ensure that the Square Mile is ready for the return to work when it comes. My virtual engagement programme has seen me speaking with major employers and international investors in the City, as well as our partners in the devolved nations and regions, to ensure a flexible and joined-up response to these challenging times.

I am pleased to say that alongside this activity I have been able to keep in close touch with the Livery. As well as participating in an online event with my own company, the Haberdashers, I also joined a Zoom gathering of future Masters who are likely to be in office for the 2020/21 period of my own extended Mayoralty. I have had video meetings with the three associations of Livery Clerks, and these calls, together with my involvement in the Pan Livery Steering Group, have allowed me to garner a real sense of what this situation means for Companies and their members. And as part of our effort to provide a platform for the exchange of knowledge and information at this time, I hope soon to be able to speak with every Livery Company in a series of virtual gatherings, which my team will begin to coordinate with Clerks in the coming weeks.

I have been impressed by the sheer range of activity Companies and Liverymen are undertaking in support of the crisis. At a strategic level, the number of Livery Companies who have signed the London Funders COVID19 Statement of support for the charitable sector is rising ever higher. By my count 59 livery companies have now added their names – it would be fantastic if we could get a full house of all 110! The list of signatories, together with more information about the purpose of the statement, can be found at http://www.covid19funders.org.uk/ Signing up in support requires no further financial commitment.

Over the last few weeks, I have received many stories about what Companies are doing collectively and individually to help where they can. I was delighted to be told last week how the Bakers Company is working with the Shoreditch Trust, providing over 150 loaves of bread a week to be used in emergency food parcels for the parcels. So many other Companies are doing what they can. You will be pleased to know that the NHS Livery Kitchen initiative, now supported by over 25 different Livery companies, has increased its capacity and is now providing 600 meals a day to London hospitals. There are too many examples for me to mention here but please do continue to let my team know what you company if up to so that we are better able to share more widely the Livery’s incredible response to COVID-19.

Last month I was extremely honoured to participate in the online ceremony – the first of its kind – in which Captain Tom Moore, now Sir Tom, received the Freedom of the City. The ceremony was streamed live to the internet, since when over 15,000 people have viewed it on YouTube. You can do so at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0DhZsmH39M Prior to the event I asked Captain Tom if he would consider joining us for the Lord Mayor’s Show in November. As you will know from my previous bulletin, we are very much planning for the Show to take place later this year, subject to Government guidance at the time. We hope that it will be an opportunity to express the City’s appreciation for key workers and our support for our communities – we would welcome the Livery’s continued involvement.

Following the success of the online ceremony for Captain Tom, and in view of the impact of the COVID19 restrictions on the physical operations of the Chamberlain’s Court, all candidates for the Freedom will now have the option of participating in an online ceremony if that is their preference. This virtual procedure will permit us to continue to make the Freedom available to those who apply for it and may be one option for Companies to consider when making arrangements for their own Freemen. Further details are available from Murray Craig, the Clerk to the Chamberlain’s Court.

Since I last wrote we have celebrated the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, albeit in a fashion that was different to what we might originally have intended. But seeing so many people gathering in their front gardens for socially-distanced street parties with their neighbours has made me feel optimistic that, despite the current restrictions, we in the Livery will find a way to continue to observe the fellowship, conviviality and solidarity which were a feature of our lives before this crisis began. But I would urge all of us to resolve to do whatever we can in this emergency to demonstrate the value that the Livery adds to our communities, our trades and professions and our society, so that long after this challenge has passed we can be confident that we in the Livery played our part.

With very best wishes from me and the Lady Mayoress.

Alderman William Russell
The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor

 

Image – Captain Tom Moore reads the Declaration of a Freeman of London in an online ceremony in May 2020