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What we learned from other Past Masters' Associations

What we learned from other Past Masters' Associations

April 13, 2016


Ian Locks Hon. Sec.

The meeting of representatives of 24 Past Masters' Associations - with MagnaMasters as the new arrival and Past Sheriff Fiona Adler's father representing the group of 1983-84 - met at the Old Dr. Butler's Head in Masons Avenue, next to the Guildhall, today and provided a most helpful opportunity to compare best practice and best ideas.

Representing MagnaMasters were chairman Jeremy Randall, vice-chairman Michael Davis-Marks and me as Hon. So what did we learn?

Most marked, perhaps, were the different activity levels of the groups around the table with some of those around 15 years old more or less active than those five or more years older or younger. Those with active Mistress - and later Consorts - groups being distinguished by their greater enthusiasm and creative programming (well, that's how I saw it....)

Over the years dinners tend to become lunches but while one group would be having trips abroad 50 strong, Norfolk was the furthest afield ventured by another. While golf and skiing were binding activities for some, theatre visits, city walks, theatre outings and musical evenings worked for others.

Membership retention is not just measured against longevity: some older associations have retained membership far better than some young ones. A strong message is that a full membership - we have just over 100 paid-up this year - plus a sensibly priced membership fee makes for a healthy organisation able to support events financially and attract good numbers. Hopefully MagnaMasters tick this box.

The 13/14 year group have taken the step of combining the Masters and Consorts into a single entity with a "family membership" fee notwithstanding that some events are for masters or consorts only. Perhaps we should consider this?

Another strong message is to invest in the future and support your Sheriff if he goes on to be Lord Mayor - and Ald. Andrew Parmley, as senior alderman, may well be elected in November/ We will be asking him how we might best support him.

Another thought for future events which came through strongly was to use the strengths of your membership. Visits to breweries, distilleries and HMS Wellington figured on a number of agendas.

We learned that we are in a minority in not having a tie - and Michael agreed to look into this. Jeremy is looking into the possibility of something on the river one evening in July - and I really must organise an open committee meeting, Thursday 15 September, is proposed and the age and social evening on Monday 7 November.

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