“Here we come a-wassailing
Along the City Streets;
Here come Security Professionals
As fair a bunch to meet. (With apologies to Anon)
This year our Annual Christmas lunch was held in the Vintners’ Hall; where we were made very welcome and members and guests passed the grand be-decked Christmas Tree at the foot of the Staircase to the first floor where the pre-lunch drinks were provided in the Court Room. This was as always, an oversubscribed event, and continues to herald the arrival of the Christmas season and as usual, the mood was excellent.
Lunch was announced by our Beadle and participants proceeded to the Livery Hall on the ground floor.
Prior to and during lunch, a festive musical interlude was provided by four students from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama: Simone, Florian, Augustus and Johanna. The students arrived early looking forward to this event and were more than happy to join us and lead the musical items.
The top table, including Steve Evans (representing Andy Gillies) of Amberstone, generous sponsors of this event, processed into the Hall. The Master welcomed all and we were then able to partake of the first course, Citrus Cured Salmon, laid out prior to the guests’ arrival and accompanied by Joie de Vigne Masane Vermentine .
There followed, as is now traditional, an excellent main course of roast Norfolk turkey with all the trimmings accompanied by Errazuriz 1870 Teno Block Merlot.
Individual Christmas puddings were served with brandy butter. Coffee and port was then presented to guests ready for the toasts.
The Master made a well-timed (short!!) speech and proposed the Loyal Toast and that to the Guests. Sqn Ldr Chris Ford MBE, then responded on behalf of the guests and proposed the Toast to the Company. I’m not sure what the Master was saying at the moment of this picture, but he appears to be conducting the singers and has alarmed the Beadle!!
The highlight of the day, as always, was Carol singing by the assembled guests, this year led by our Clerk. The guests made a spirited attempt at ‘Good King Wenceslas’ helped by the Guildhall singers, then a rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas, beloved by so many regular attendees. This year diners had again been pre-warned of their section of the carol by a card placed at their dining position. Each group rose to sing their particular section each time it arose.
All diners appeared to have produced a well-rounded performances this year and all the required standing up and sitting down on allocated verses was closely supervised by The Clerk. The Guildhall singers in the minstrels’ gallery endeavoured to give support but could hardly sing for laughing. And finally, as by then we were all in good voice, there was a memorable rendition of ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’.
Once again, a great time was had by all as was evident in the fond farewells and promises to meet again next year. Book early to join us next year for one of the most amusing lunches you can imagine.