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St George's Banquet 26 April at Cutlers' Hall

Cutlers' Hall was the venue selected for the Bowyers' St George's Day Banquet this year and provided a superb backdrop to an excellent evening of good food, fine wine, excellent company and on this occasion unique musical entertainment. An impressive total of 95 Bowyers and their guests, many sporting a red rose, gathered for one of the Company's two annual flagship events and to celebrate St George's Day in typical Bowyers' style.

Having been welcomed into the Hall by an impressively turned out Carpet Guard of Brentwood Sea Cadets (our newest affiliation), the Bowyers and their guests were received by the Master and Wardens and their wives prior to a champagne reception. During the reception, Mr Rob Doyle, Chairman of the Brentwood Sea Cadets and one of our guests for the evening, flanked by some of the cadets, gave a short talk on the role of the organisation and its aims and objectives. He concluded by very generously presenting a unit shield to the Master on behalf of the Company and also to Past Master Michael Wren who had been responsible for initiating and developing the relationship.

Having been welcomed into the Hall by an impressively turned out Carpet Guard of Brentwood Sea Cadets (our newest affiliation), the Bowyers and their guests were received by the Master and Wardens and their wives prior to a champagne reception.

During the reception, Mr Rob Doyle, Chairman of the Brentwood Sea Cadets and one of our guests for the evening, flanked by some of the cadets, gave a short talk on the role of the organisation and its aims and objectives. He concluded by very generously presenting a unit shield to the Master on behalf of the Company and also to Past Master Michael Wren who had been responsible for initiating and developing the relationship.

Upon the ringing of the Bowyers' dining bell the assembled company climbed the stairs to the Livery Hall to the accompaniment of the excellent Sea Cadet pipers. Our caterers for the evening, The Cook and The Butler, served an excellent four-course meal of cod, beef, lime cheesecake and devilled liver accompanied by some excellent wines, all of which was very much enjoyed by the diners. Following the Sung Grace, the passing of the Loving Cup and our four formal toasts, the diners then settled down to enjoy some musical entertainment provided by Mr Peter Gill, a pianist and singer well known to those Bowyers who had attended the January Court and Livery Dinner at Dyers' Hall some three months previously. On this occasion he performed five ragtime piano compositions by Scott Joplin to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the composer's death.

Once the rapturous applause has subsided the diners then turned to listen to Dr Sinclair Rogers as he welcomed our guests for the evening: Professor Edward Byrne AC, Principal and President of King's College London, and his wife Melissa; Mr George Clarke, the Master Cutler, and his wife Isabel; the Fletchers' new Master, Mrs Clare James, and their Clerk Miss Kate Pink; Lt Col Frosty Ellwood from the Mercian Regiment, and his wife Elizabeth; and from the Brentwood Sea Cadets, Mr Rob Doyle. Responding on behalf of the guests Professor Byrne spoke warmly of the importance of the link between King's College London and the Company and thanked the Bowyers for their continued provision of an MA Scholarship and their support of KCL's 'Widening Participation' programme of outreach to schools.

After the Clerk had proposed the toast to The Company, the Master responded by highlighting our friendly links with the 'Warrior Companies', two of which were represented that evening, and to our affiliations, including the Mercian Regiment and the Brentwood Sea Cadets, also both represented. He chose to focus on the charitable work of the Bowyers, explaining that the Company aims to target its charitable giving into areas where it can make a real difference, particularly citing the Mercian Regiment Benevolent Fund, the KCL programmes and the tall-ship sail training conducted by the Sea Cadets as good examples of this. To conclude the evening, the Master proposed a rousing toast to England and St George.

After dinner the Bowyers and their guests rounded off the evening with a Stirrup Cup before dispersing into the night from what had been a highly successful and memorable evening.

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