The Company of
Watermen & Lightermen
of the River Thames

The Master’s Blog – 8th July to 31st August

Masters Blog

8th July to 31st August

Firstly, I’d like to thank you for the wonderful cards, letters and emails I received following my installation, it was overwhelming and a huge surprise to receive so many good wishes and generous words of support.

When restrictions were first eased in early July following the stringent social regulations of 23rd March my installation seemed the ideal opportunity to re-open our doors with an event of our own, declaring to the River and City, Watermen’s Hall is back in business.

Unlike a large number of my contemporary ‘zoom installed’ Masters, the glorious tradition of taking office in our Hall followed by a lunch (alas only for Court Members), was made possible due to the hard work of the Clerk, Assistant Clerk and Mark Groves our caterer.  They collectively ensured the Court Meeting and celebrations were 100% legal, a rarity if moments in our illustrious past, are to be believed!

My consort Honorary Court Assistant Richard Turk was unable to participate at the installation.   Having been diagnosed with bowel cancer before lock down, his postponed operation was re-scheduled for late June.  Following the operation Richard was under strict instructions to rest, to assist in the early stages of his recovery I looked after him.   One thing is for certain, a handmaiden I am not!!! But I’m delighted to tell you he is now fit and well with no further treatment required.

Very sadly, long-established events on the river have been postponed or cancelled but I’ve kept busy meeting the Lord Mayor of London and Sheriffs in the Welsh foot hills of Zoom along with other members of the Livery fraternity.

In early August, the Clerk was holidaying in Anglesey.  Being intrepid travellers, he and Sue ventured further west to the outpost of Nefyn, where Steve, my husband and I live.   What a sensational time we had relaxing together over a lunch and far too many bottles of Rose!  Later that day we took to the high seas catching several mackerel ensuring the Clerk had a hearty breakfast the following morning!

 

I’ve had excellent conversations with our staff.  Carol has manned the ship with great gusto and Susan continues to look after our Heritage and The Hoy (due out in early September) while Kelly adeptly rises to the challenging task of keeping in touch with our apprentices (no mean feat)!  Martin Hackett is doing a superb job at Hastings keeping the residents safe and was very pleased to report all are in good health.

Over a highly informative conversation with Alex Hickman regarding the training of our apprentices he informed me what an enormous asset Nick Tudor has been.  For the last 5 months Alex and Nick have continued training our apprentices on-line, in August these sessions also resumed at the Hall.  Alex said ‘I couldn’t have maintained training over this tremendously difficult period without Nick Tudor filling in when needed’.   A huge thank you from us all to Nick, we really appreciate everything he has done and continues to do for the apprentices.

As many of you will know, Alex Hickman was diagnosed with Cancer several months ago and has since been undergoing very high levels of Chemotherapy with enormous courage and fortitude.  On 1st September he will be admitted to hospital, 2 days later he undergoes 12 hours of surgery.  As Master, I speak for the entire Freedom in wishing Alex all the very best over this gruelling period and a speedy return to health.

Looking forward we have the ability to hold events at our Hall using correct social distancing, of course there will be limitations, but we are an imaginative, lively Company and I look forward to seeing you very soon when we can properly extend the right hand (or elbow) of Fellowship.

The Company of Watermen and Lightermen, Watermen's Hall, 16 - 18 St-Mary-at-Hill, London, EC3R 8EF

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