Ladies and Gentlemen
Thank you, Master, for your generous words of welcome. It was with enormous pride that I accepted your invitation, last year, to become an Honorary Liveryman of this ancient Worshipful Company and I am hugely honoured to be here today in your magnificent Great Hall (a testament to the art of plastering) to accept this beautiful Livery brooch.
The City Livery Companies are entwined in the history of London. They have their roots in ancient trades and crafts, but over the centuries they have adapted to emerge, in the 21st Century, still vital to the men and women they support. Here at the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers, I know how proud you are to promote the craft of plastering; to sustain it through annual awards and training bursaries; to raise money for charity and to maintain your links with this country's wonderful Armed Forces.
I'm told that, as long ago as 1513, the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers paid 20 shillings towards equipping 300 men with arms for the French War! In this bicentenary year of the Battle of Waterloo, I'm glad to say our days of fighting the French are over! However, the Armed Forces are now deployed all over the world and your continuing commitment to the Army, Navy and Air Force through your Military Affiliations does you immense credit. I am sure that your awards of prizes, charitable giving and visits – as well as the generous hospitality you have offered them here – are all greatly appreciated and I'm delighted to see so many representatives of those Military Affiliations here tonight.
It has been an huge pleasure to meet so many of you this evening and to learn a little about your work. Thank you for making me so welcome as a fellow Liveryman of your Company.
Long may it flourish!