450 Year

 Gordon Birdwood
Master 2011-2012

Valedictory Summary
450th Anniversary of the Worshipful Company of Broderers
This great and wonderful Livery of ours - the Worshipful Company of Broderers has just completed our 450th Anniversary.  We have had a hugely successful and enjoyable year, which has been as a direct result of one complete team effort of which the Livery should be very proud.
Driven by the 450th Steering Committee, the planning for the celebrations commenced over two years ago and set out to achieve four very clear objectives:
  1. To celebrate the Anniversary by raising the profile of the Livery within the City.
  2. To commemorate the Anniversary with a financial legacy for the benefit of a specific organisation, whilst continuing to assist and support existing associated charities.
  3. To celebrate the Anniversary with a number of special occasions and activities.
  4. To commission an artefact in recognition of the Anniversary.
These four goals were to be underpinned by the most important aspect of all - that the celebrations should be fun and ‘all inclusive’ to the generations within the Livery.
I think the Livery can safely say that the Worshipful Company of Broderers has achieved – if not exceeded –its expectations in accomplishing these objectives.
The 450th Charitable Causes
In 2008, I set out to find a worthy charitable cause. The Head of Charitable Giving at Fidelity UK assisted me by drawing up a short list of charities which fitted our criteria, which were:
  • A charity which does good for young people, who are either disadvantaged or who are mentally or physically disabled.
  • A small charity where the benefit of additional funds would be immediately felt.
  • This charity must be in or close to the City of London.
Armed with a shortlist of possibilities, we visited several deserving organisations which might match the resource and capability of the Livery. As a result of this search, a list of six charities was drawn up which were presented to the Court, who unanimously voted for City Gateway to be the 450th Anniversary and Legacy Charity. 
We had now found a good cause to raise funds for and the next task would be to get to know City Gateway. All the livery were encouraged to visit and to see for themselves what their work involves and, as a result, the relationship blossomed. The rest is history.
We are now in the process of cementing a union with a formal exchange of letters. This will set out an agreement for the following:
  • How the money is to be spent in the name of the Broderers, and proof of equal funding from City Gateway.
  • Not all the funds will be released in one dollop, but will be spread over a given and agreed period of time.
  • City Gateway to give account to the Broderers after the funds have been spent.
What funds have we raised?
The Livery have raised something in the order of £170,000, of which £62,250 will go towards the Broderers Charitable Trust, £102,500 for City Gateway, £2,700 for the Embroiderers Guild and £2,515 for The Grange.
The Countdown Campaign spearheaded by Court Assistant Roger Sanders commenced on 1st August 2010, concluded on 21st May 2012 and raised £64,300.
The Livery has indeed been collectively hugely generous for which heartfelt thanks are given.
450 Events
The Steering Committee set out to deliver an exciting and ambitious calendar of events, all of which were very well attended by all generations within the Livery.
450 Election Dinner – 18th May 2011:  For the launch of the Anniversary Year, the Livery hosted an Election Dinner in the magnificent Mansion House by kind permission of the Lord Mayor - Sir Michael Bear. No livery could ask for a more stunning setting to start their celebratory year off. The Musketeers of the Honourable Artillery Company were on parade and the Household Cavalry Mounted Band were there with the State Trumpeters.  The Egyptian Hall was full to capacity with 350 diners – all of whom were determined to have a good time. Lady Bear commented by saying she had never seen the room look more splendid with the most incredible flower decorations which were most generously donated by past Master Colin Hart who had been responsible together with the Clerk for all the organisation of this great event. Colin Emson – the distinguished banker - gave an enlightening and informative speech on the causes and troubles of the banking industry and the Lord Mayor responded to the Masters inaugural speech.  Everyone hugely enjoyed themselves.
Associated Companies Dinner – The Drapers Hall 27th October 2011:- By tradition the Livery has an annual dinner by the name of the Associated Company’s Dinner to which the Cooks, Mercers and Masons participate - being associated with us. Since this was a special year, we decided to hold the dinner in the magnificent Drapers Hall and we wanted to ask as many Masters and their Clerks to attend.  Again the evening was filled to capacity.  Master Mercer, Tom Sheldon was invited to speak on behalf of the guests and Lady Victoria Leatham, Renter Warden to the Worshipful Company of Drapers was the Livery’s guest speaker who delivered a delightful and most amusing after dinner speech.
Lord Mayor’s Show – 12th November 2011: It was decided that we would enter into the Lord Mayor’s Show, since we had not taken part in this great City ‘beauty parade’ for some time.  Past Master Nicholas Charrington (and almost the entire Charrington family) set to in organising what would become one of the best floats of the parade. The newly elected Lord Mayor Alderman David Wootton in the golden coach led the long procession. Our float would be the production and display of the biggest sewing machine ever – actually a heavily disguised London Routemaster double-decker bus.  Supporting this great sight were Liverymen and their families together with a large contingent from City Gateway - all masquerading as ribbon carriers, cotton reels and scissors.  The Master led the float on a magnificent Household Cavalry charger by the name of Empress. After the parade we were given a splendid tea at The Royal College of Arms by Tim Duke, a memorable end to a wonderful day.  A huge amount of time and effort was invested by the Charrington family and the day will be remembered by all who took part for years to come.
The Carol Service 12th December 2012
Fortunately this year it was the Livery’s turn to host the associated Company’s Carol Service which was organised by the Clerk and held at St Mary Woolnoth in Lombard Street.  A small, yet enchanting Church which was full to capacity and was greatly enhanced by its professional choir.  Afterwards the congregation withdrew for a delicious hot pork buffet at the Church of St Edmund, King and Martyr.
Fund Raising Event – The Guildhall Library 8th March 2012: It is true to say that there was a degree of concern as to whether our ambitions would be met against the mounting uncertainty of the euro. Would anyone come? Would we raise any money? We had originally booked the Banqueting Hall on Whitehall and subsequently decided to ‘downgrade’ our aspirations to a smaller venue being the Guildhall Library within the Guildhall. The New Year dawned with preparations well underway and being organised by James Brooks-Ward. The event was to be a dinner boosted by a silent and ordinary auction together with the raffle announcement of the Master’s (year long) raffle – being a magnificent sculptured hippo by Mark Coreth. The star speaker of the evening was the Olympic Minister Hugh Robertson who gave a fascinating insight into how the Olympics were shaping up. The livery rose to the occasion filling up this wonderful room and we managed to raise £24,000. A truly fantastic achievement.
450th Anniversary Luncheon 28th March 2012: Swiftly after the Fundraising Event plans were being finalised for the 450th Commemorative Lunch in the presence of HRH the Earl of Wessex.  The lunch would be preceded by a short service of commemoration at St Michael Paternoster Royal followed by a Reception and unveiling of the 450th Artefact at the Innholders Hall.  This was a very special and significant day primarily to commemorate 450 years and secondly to the unveiling of the 450th Anniversary Artefact. Embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework this magnificent masterpiece was made as a Lectern Fall. The idea to have a piece of 21st Century embroidery was the brainchild of Liveryman Harry Williamson to whom we are all indebted for presenting it to the livery in the name of the late Past Master Charles Gotto.
In summary, we have all had a really tremendous year. We are on the road to enlarging the membership with a recruiting initiative being undertaken by my successor. We have funds in the bank to distribute and we have had a good time doing some extraordinary things, but above all the generosity and commitment shown by the Livery had brought the Livery closer together and thus being stronger in character. A huge thank you to the Steering Committee and a huge thank you to the Livery. 
Gordon Birdwood
Master  2011 - 2012