MINUTES of an open committee of the MagnaMasters held on Wednesday 11 September 2019 at CÔTE BRASSERIE - ST PAUL'S, LONDON 26 Ludgate Hill, London EC4M 7DR commencing at 12 noon followed by a light lunch.
Attending: Chris Ford, Stephen Bernhard, Martin Miles, Peter Williams, Sir Roger Vickers, Jim Conybeare, Patrick Chapman, Michael Godbee, Ian Locks, Nic Birtles, Tony Alston, Raymond Layard, Neville Chamberlain, Barrie Stewart, Geoffrey Lewis, Patrick O’Reilly, John Jackman, Tony Watson, Richard Herbert, Jeremy Randall (Chairman), Debby Ounsted
Apologies: Heather Hawker, John Hayton, Gwen Rhys, Mike Felton
1 Chairman’s welcome and introduction
The Chairman, Jeremy Randall, welcomed and thanked those attending, representing some 20% of the paid membership and a similar number to earlier years for the meeting, the purpose of which was to review what we had been doing and to plan what we might and would like to do in the next 12 months.
He congratulated on receiving the OBEs in the birthday honours this summer: Dr Ian Frood (Coopers) for services to agriculture and Eddie Donaldson (Basketmakers), chairman and treasurer of the RNLI among other things. He also congratulated Alderman Vincent Keaveny (Solicitors) on his election as Aldermanic Sheriff for the current year and Mark Henderson (MagnaMaster Currier) elected inaugural Master Investment Managers, a group he has worked for several years to establish as a Guild.
A memorial service was held on 11 October for Wynne Gillham, MagnaMaster Upholder, who died after illness on 1 July.
Roger North and Nic Birtles were to be congratulated on winning the Livery Past Masters Association Autumn pairs competition at Chobham GC on 5 September and also took second and third places respectively in the singles event at Sonning GC in April.
Once again we had enjoyed a busy programme: Lunch with Graeme Groom (Innholder) at Innholders’ Hall on 5 October 2018 was, to put it bluntly, a triumph. With some 50 MagnaMasters and Consorts enjoying one of the finest Livery lunches in town, Graeme, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at King’s College Hospital, told us about his double life “moonlighting” as a volunteer in Palestine helping to reconstruct mostly young people shot by Israeli guards.
Monday 5 November 2018: MagnaMasters AGM, accompanied by a fun wine tasting conducted by Chairman Jeremy Randall and supper courtesy AVM Patrick O’Reilly in the magnificent Presidents' Room of the Royal Air Force Club.
Gin Making Experience - City of London Distillery 9 October 2018, with many thanks to PM Vintner Allan Cheesman.
Magnificent Drapers' Hall, which hosted our Fourth Gala Dinner, pulled out all the stops to make this a great occasion with 146 paid to attend. Our speaker for the evening was Ald. and Sheriff (and MagnaMaster) Vincent Keaveny attending with Amanda Keaveny flanked by Hon. President Sir Ald. Alan Yarrow and Lady Yarrow and Chairman Jeremy Randall and Irene Randall. Our host for the evening, Past Master Draper Nick Bence-Trower, there with wife Nicky, opened proceedings with a warm welcome to one of the three organisations of which HM The Queen is a member. A very big thank you to Nick.
The amazing CERN project in Geneva on 4 June 2019 and attended by 24 members and Consorts was organised by Patrick Draycott, to whom enormous thanks were due, describing the experience JR said this was “one of the most exciting things” he had done and “the most amazing experience for those attending which had been the maximum allowed at one time. The group had been granted outstanding hospitality.
An Exclusive tour of Smithfield Market followed by breakfast on 30 May 2019 was organised by Jeremy Randall and and a visit to Royal Museums, Greenwich 10 June 2019 was kindly organised by Tony Watson.
The CartaConsorts had also had a busy programme with a tour of Dicken’s Bloomsbury in September; a trip to the Ely Cathedral Christmas Market in November; a backstage tour of the Royal Opera House in February; a visit to the Globe Theatre to see Merry Wives of Windsor in June; and an East End Experience later in September to look forward to.
2 Minutes of meeting 12 September 2018 were approved
3 Financial Report
In his report Hon. Treasurer Martin Miles said the balance of £5132 at the end of the previous financial year had been added to by a surplus of £1366 in the last financial year giving a balance of £6499 after a couple of small repayments. The income of £5050 represented 101 MagnaMasters paying £50 each. Main expenditure had been £539 for the Open Committee; £139 for the AGM, Wine tasting and Dinner; £2902 for the Gala Dinner plus £112 miscellaneous expenditure - £3683 in total.
Raising the question of the surplus MM wondered whether there were thoughts about what constituted a “reasonable balance” for the association to accumulate. After discussion it was agreed that the decision last year to allow the balance to accumulate during these early years was wise: membership attrition and rising costs would resolve the issue in due course.
4 Upcoming Events
Ian Locks reported that on 27/28 September the visit to York would be centred on the Grand Hotel and Merchant Adventurers’ Hall. Bookings had reached its minimum number of 50 but not without a lot of effort by John Shonfeld and Dr Alan Suggett, to whom much thanks were due.
The AGM and Dinner 2020 would be held on 4 November - this was attracting interest and we expected around 28 members to attend.
The Fifth Gala Dinner would be held at Saddlers' Hall courtesy Mark Farmar, PM Saddler. We were hoping for 140 attendees and some 60 had registered so far.
In a general discussion it was agreed that Central London probably worked best on the whole for events but that should not prevent events being offered elsewhere.
5 Programme for 2020
The following ideas had been carried forward or were volunteered either during or after the meeting and will be pursued.
Patrick Draycott is investigating the possibility of a repeat of the visit to CERN. It was agreed there would be a rapid take-up for 24 places even though the facility would probably be fully operative by then.
Jeremy Randall and Nic Birtles are planning a visit to wine growing area. It was agreed May/June would be the most popular time but bank holidays in both Britain and France should be avoided.
Gala Dinner - this should be black tie (except at Mansion House); the subsidy for members should not be applied to guests; future venues might be Goldsmiths’ Hall (though this would need to be joint with another year); Butchers and Skinners.
Ditchling Village: Vineyard & Art and Craft Museum - Mike Felton still prepared to arrange this.
Dinner Lincoln’s Inn - Tony Watson said restoration was now complete. This would need to be dinner rather than lunch and the room would be dependent on numbers. He hoped to include a tour of the Great Hall and archives.
Magic Circle Visit - Patrick Chapman
Tideway Tunnel - Richard Herbert
Westminster Abbey - Raymond Layard
Shuttleworth Collection, Biggleswade -
6 Events Committee (Stephen Bernhard, Nic Birtles, Gwen Rhys and Ian Locks )
- IL reported on two meetings of the committee which had resulted in a smarter approach to monthly newsletters (thanks to guidance from Gwen Rhys) and an offer by Nic Birtles to develop a guide to organising events (target date end September). It had also been suggested that the onus of overseeing events should be shared. The main area of confusion was the extent to which members should be exposed to possible loss in organising an event; how costs should be shared among those taking part, particularly when drinks were involved; and the process for seeking financial underwriting for an event which required a minimum number. This would be discussed at the next meeting of the committee and proposals brought forward.
Strong bases for events were offered by a) Trips members had organised as Masters b) trade-related events eg the gin making experiences organised by PM Vintner Allan Cheesman c) hitching to other City events d) Hosting events at members’ halls (eg Graeme Groom’s lunch at Innholders’) e) Christmas markets f) Basile/Zurich
Members were asked to consider supporting the Sheriffs’ Ball on Friday 20 September for which there was still one spare table in support of Ald. Vincent Keaveny,
7 Membership - Membership Directory (MM/MG)
We anticipated that paid membership would remain around 100 for the coming year
Membership Directory - no action following decision last year. No strong demand had been indicated for a further version. The existing version was available on request from the Hon. Sec.
The Chairman said the extent to which we should exercise almonry responsibilities to our membership had been raised. It was agreed this should rest with the Membership Secretary and should be low key, limited to ensuring best wishes were extended as appropriate and notification of deaths/memorial services open to the membership.
The Chairman hoped as many as possible wold attend the AGM, Wine Tasting and Dinner at the RAF Club, Piccadilly on 4 November.
There was no other business and lunch was served at 1.00pm.