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A letter from our Chairman

Jeremy Randall


I hope you are all managing to stay clear of this wretched virus and ‘Hats Off’ to those who are involved on the front line.

The problem with this conflict is that it crosses the generations, many MagnaMasters will have elderly relatives they are concerned for, or children and family members who work in the NHS or other high-risk roles, that is a real concern.

I am generally very impressed with the behaviour of my fellow countrymen, who by all accounts are largely obeying the rules as best they can. That is pretty well as much that most of us can do as individuals to stop this bug spreading. We must count our blessings that we are not stuck at home with a young family on the 23rd floor of a tower block, for some this lockdown must be quite dreadful. It puts into perspective that our greatest concern is that we are now having to ration the Worcester Sauce.

No one truly knows what the future holds, there is hope of a vaccine, drug therapies are being developed, but history will surely be divided into Pre-Covid and After-Covid, a bit like BC and AD!

Generally speaking,  the retired (and yes, I do know quite a few of us are still working) are one of the most significant sectors who get through this with minimal financial damage. For most retired people, income carries on and expenses have dropped as we are not doing much, certainly no travelling or eating out!

Of course, our investments have taken a hit. If I look at my pension fund, the value has suddenly dropped by about 20% and it is lower than it was when I hit 65 in 2017, but like everyone else I am optimistic that there will be some limited recovery.

However, it will not be lost on the government, who will soon identify us as ‘not having lost everything’, and that will surely make us a target for increased taxation. Something for you all to look forward to.

I  am not going to speculate when we shall next meet, I don’t believe anyone knows, but I would be very surprised if it is during 2020. Life may never be quite the same again, but when we return to whatever the new normal will be, it will make us value our friendships all the more.

Jeremy Randall

Chairman MagnaMasters

Past Master Watermen and Lightermen

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John Launderer

We invited MagnaMasters to share their experiences of the strange lockdown time of March-May 2020

Needs Must

John Shonfeld 

Past Master Launderer - MagnaMaster 

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Well my story is as follows:

Six weeks ago the business fell off a cliff.  So instead of producing chefs' wear and uniforms, we changed to making hospital scrubs working 12 hrs a day to supply the NHS and also in our factory in South Africa. We sourced a company in Latvia and deliveries are now being made. 
We have had orders for over 60,000 scrub sets, our big challenge has been supply of materials not helped by the biggest supplier burning to the ground losing three million metres of grey cloth.  We have now moved to gowns where this is also challenging obtaining raw material.  We are sourcing from Poland , UK and Portugal but so is everyone else.  In the first three days of last week when we made the switch we had orders for 25,000, now we just need to make them at around 5/10,000 a week.  We have also made shrouds and supplied over 1,000 of these.
Our Laundry remains closed but we have all rallied to the National cause to keep the NHS supplied and the laundry is on standby to help when needed.
Over 50% of our staff our furloughed and customers are retaining cash, so life is hard as we are still paying our supply chain. We have cash and facility but the how long will this last is the question we all ask .
After this is over our business will have changed most reckon the hospitality will be on 50% this year and 80% next year, so our change with new customers will hopefully be permanent.
I know many of you will have stories to tell and we have lots of time to read them 

Stay safe god bless

PM John Launderers

My Lockdown

- Gwen Rhys, Past Master Glass Seller, Magnamaster

My most exciting news is that I’ve cleaned out the

cupboard under the sink and feel exceptionally

proud of myself!  I’ve also, like many, become a

Baker and a Barber. My sour dough works well,

although the “Mother Dough” exploded

on a few occasions in the early days.  I’m pleased

to say

she’s calmed down now. Today’s experiment with ciabatta

was somewhat less successful, however.  Not enough holes

but edible nonetheless.  I’ve become a dab hand at an all-over No 2 and No 4 and, in anticipation of challenging our local Turkish Barber’s Shop after the Lockdown, have ordered in Turkish Delight which I offer my clients with a strong black coffee. I’ve not had any complaints, so feel very emboldened with this venture. (photographic proof available).What I did discover was a large stash of “kitchen sponges”.  I think my cleaner opens a new pack each week, uses one and puts one away.  I shall make sure she uses up the “odd ones” when she returns. I had  a quantity of very smart stackable plastic boxes and now everything is arranged very neatly.  I doubt my “1950s housewife” skills will endure for very long.   


I also cleared out the kitchen cupboards and, like everyone else, found stuff that was way, way out of date.  The oldest is a small jar of table salt dated in the last century.  Still salty!!

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Building the Wales Nightingale

- and paying the Covid-19 price

AVM Patrick O'Reilly, Past Master Engineers and MagnaMaster Vice-Chairman

Members might be interested to know that in March my son David (wg cdr surgeon) was made the Clinical Lead for the conversion of the Principality (previously Millennium) Rugby Stadium to a 2,000-bed Field Hospital.  A brave endeavour given that he is an Englishman!  Now the second largest hospital in UK, Ysbyty Calon Y Ddraig (Dragon's Heart Hospital) was opened (virtually) by the Prince of Wales on 20 April.  Sadly, David missed the ceremony as he had contracted Covid-19 the previous week, but after a rough time sick at home is returning to work this week.

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Conversion of Principality Stadium to be second largest emergency hospital in UK. Credit: South Wales Life

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