Sir John and Lady Stuttard were invited by the Club to a private lunch at Davy’s Woolgate as a way of saying thank you to them for their support of the Club and the Ward and to wish them a happy, healthy and enjoyable retirement. Many of the Club’s Past Masters, Officers, friends and colleagues were there.
As usual, Sir John gave a very well appreciated speech (See full text below) in reply to the Vote of Thanks given by Robert Howard CC (Deputy)
The Master presented Sir John with a gift of 6 18th Champagne Glasses, which Sir John advised later “have been put to good use :)”.
Lady Stuttard was presented with a large bouquet of flowers by the Hon Sec.
Sir John’s reply to the Vote of Thanks.
“Master, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is most kind of you to host this lunch for Lesley and me, and we would like to thank you very much for your kindness today and, indeed, over the last 12 years. And, Daphne, thank you for making all the arrangements.
When I was elected Alderman for Lime Street in May 2001, I had no idea quite what we were letting ourselves in for and quite what fun it was going to be.
At our very first meeting, the Ward Mote in the Lloyd’s Building, we encountered a scene that was reminiscent of a Gilbert & Sullivan opera. Gliding down the escalator to the basement level, and pretending that this was a normal feature of 21st century City life, was a procession of gentlemen in rather strange dress.
The City Marshal was wearing spurs, the Swordbearer had an enormous sword, the Common Cryer carried a huge unwieldy mace, the Lord Mayor was dressed in State, sporting a splendid tricorn hat with black ostrich feathers, and he was accompanied by two Sheriffs who wore scarlet gowns with rather a lot of fur. It was all very peculiar. Were they really responsible for the governance of the world’s leading financial centre?
Up till then, I had led a very dull life, as a humble accountant. I had done some acting at university, which required a modicum of dressing up. But this was something else – where else could you exercise your fantasies in quite such a flamboyant way? Where else could you wear ladies’ tights as part of the mandatory dress code? And where else could you meet such agreeable people.
For Lesley and me, my becoming Alderman for Lime Street changed our lives and introduced us to a very special family whose members have been extraordinarily supportive, as my successor, Alderman Charles Bowman, is finding out.
My immediate predecessors, Brian Toy and Michael Everard were enormously helpful.
And, of course, I inherited a beadle, Edward Kipping, who told me, at our first encounter, that it was the Alderman’s job to ensure that his beadle received a bottle of whisky at Christmas. Edward was never reticent or shy when he wanted to make a point.
My first Deputy, Michael Beale, advised that I should have nothing to do with the voters. He would deal with them, and see them off, so that I could concentrate on preparing for the Shrievalty and the Mayoralty. And, as you may remember, each year, Michael used to sail his boat up the Thames and moor it in St Katherine’s Dock, where he would provide a floating bar that was open 24 hours a day. My one sadness is that when I was Lord Mayor, and also Admiral of the Port of London, I never dressed up in the Admiral’s uniform and reprimanded him for disorderly conduct on the river. He and Paula are sadly missed. As is Mary Lou Carrington, who was a great Common Councilman.
And, I have been lucky in my choice of Deputy.
Christine Cohen introduced us to the greener parts of the City of London which she so enthusiastically developed and nurtured.
Dennis Cotgrove and I shared time together as governors of King Edward’s School Witley and now Robert Howard is living up to the reputation of his immediate three forebears.
And, of course, Stephen Kipping took over from his Dad and continues the tradition of receiving a bottle of fine whisky at Christmas.
As Honorary President of the Lime Street Ward Club, I have been blessed with 12, or is it even 13, marvellous Masters. I was particularly pleased when Ann Benson, who had served so well as Secretary for so many years, became Master in the year that I was Lord Mayor. The illuminated address which she organised hangs in pride of place in the hall of our home in Dorset.
We are very fortunate in Lime Street in that we are blessed with the stunning Leadenhall Market, with its ancient tradition of providing a venue for foreigners to sell their produce. And we are also blessed with being the centre of the insurance industry, Lloyd’s of London. Insurance is today the City’s biggest contributor to our invisible earnings.
And it has been at Lloyds that each year I have had the privilege of laying a wreath at 11 o’clock on the 11th day of November. Of all the things I have done in the last 12 years, this has been the event that has been most precious and which I will always remember. The sight of thousands of office workers standing in silence in Lloyds while this time honoured ceremony takes place is truly remarkable and very memorable.
I am pleased that today the Ward has a great team – Robert, Dennis, Elizabeth, Henry – and of course your new Alderman, Charles, who will do so well and whom you have welcomed so warmly into your fold.
Indeed, this reminds me of Sir Brian Jenkins’ own son, Charles, whose end of term school report read as follows: “Height at the beginning of term 4 foot three. Height at the end of term 4 foot two. Charles is settling down nicely”.
It has been a great pleasure representing the Ward as part of this very special family. It has been a great honour and privilege – AND – we have had a great deal of fun and enjoyment. From Lesley and me, thank you all.”