The 2019 Ladle Dinner
On the evening of Tuesday 19 November in the splendid atmosphere of Apothecaries’ Hall we said thank you to Dame Fiona Woolf for her year as Master.
The tradition of holding an annual dinner, which only Liverymen attend, began in 1938 and has evolved over the years to become one of the main events in our calendar. It is now the occasion at which we say thank you to the new Immediate Past Master (IPM) for their year in office and present them with their Past Masters’ Ladle. The function is unique in that the Senior Steward presides and it is hosted by the Stewards. The new Master and Wardens attend as guests also, along with the IPM, as a thank you too from the Livery for the commitment they have made to serve in office. In another tradition, all Past Masters attending the dinner bring back their own Ladles, which are then represented to them after the dinner. The evening concludes with the Senior Steward handing over the reins to his/her successor after their year in office.
The evening began with the traditional reception in the Court Room.
The dinner itself then started with the Clerk presenting the soup (it’s always soup as starter) to the new Master, who then serves the top table using the company ladle.
Past Master Erica Stary gave the formal thank you speech to Dame Fiona, before receiving back her Past Masters’ Ladle along with all the other Past Masters attending. Having know Dame Fiona from college and all her professional career, we enjoyed a fascinating insight into her ‘life and Times’. In another tradition, the most junior Liveryman attending presents the new IPM’s Ladle and this year it was Liveryman Melville Gumbs. Unusually, this was Dame Fiona’s second ladle, having been presented with her first when she was appointed Sheriff in 2011, before her installation as Lord Mayor of the City of London in 2013.
Past Master Robert Burgon was also presented with the Distinguished Service Award from the World Plumbing Council in recognition of and thanks for all he had done for the plumbing profession through his career in the industry. The citation was read out by Past Master Nick Gale.
In an evening of presentations, IPM Dame Fiona then thanked Senior Steward Danny Flowers for his splendid term of office and presented him with his Stewards’ Certificate, before Danny concluded the dinner by handing over to Steward Clive Sofaer. In his first ‘duty’ as Senior Steward, Clive invited us all to join him for the stirrup cup.
A big thank you also to everyone you made a donation into the two ‘Poor Boxes’ taken round by the Upper and Renter Wardens; we collected just over £1,000 for those in London who will have no home to go to on Christmas Day.
We all enjoyed a great evening of friendship in the warmth of Apothecaries’ Hall, whose staff looked after us superbly, as did Party Ingredients, the caterers, who cooked and served a delicious meal.
What more could you ask for!