The tempo has picked up in March and I am now half way through my year in office. This is a slightly longer update than before as reflects the pace of the exciting work being undertaken.
Visiting the world and promoting the City
The Lord Mayor’s role as ambassador for the financial and professional services sector is fulfilled both in the City and in travels around the world. I was privileged to join the Lord Mayor in Liverpool and to meet the Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram. There is a buoyant financial services sector in Liverpool and a growing Knowledge Quarter that builds on science and pharma and is home to the new Pandemic Centre. Read my blog for my review of the visit. See: https://www.alisongowman.org/blog/lord-mayors-visit-to-liverpool
The other trip which I took part in was to China and was, sadly, virtual. Over four days the Lord Mayor and I met many businesses. We spoke about Global Investment Futures – the promotion of the UK as an attractive destination for international capital and a boost of our investment managers and the role of ESG and sustainable investing. We met the Vice Mayor of Beijing Mr YIN Yong and senior officials in several Chinese Banks and insurance companies. We also held a fireside chat with the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, https://www.britcham.com/
This highlighted the many collaborative projects around the renminbi clearing system and work on Fintech start-ups; ESG and other post COP26 initiatives. The relationship with Chinese businesses and London is very strong. Indeed, Mr Aimin Yang the General Manager of the China Construction Bank in the City was my guest at a lunch with the Judges during this virtual visit.
A visit by a Head of State is always special and none more so than the Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin who dined with the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and senior guests on the eve of a certain rugby match. It was a fantastic night for our Lord Mayor to be feted as the first Irish Lord Mayor by the Taoiseach.
International Women’s Day
March 8th is a date to celebrate the role of women in society and there are always many events around the City businesses. I hosted and arranged a major breakfast meeting on March 4th at the Guildhall. Our theme was to address the issue of Safety of Women in the Public Realm. We had the new Commissioner for the City Police Angela McLaren speaking alongside Philomena Azu from Islington Council, Simon Taylor from UBS and Dr Victoria Baines of Bournemouth University.
On the day itself I was asked to make the keynote speech at a conference given by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries and the Women’s’ Medical Federation. My speech is on my website, https://www.alisongowman.org/blog/international-womens-day-2022
An important fixed point in the Spring calendar is the Pancake Race arranged by the Poulters’ and supported by many Livery Companies. Too much rain meant play was called off but we still managed to attend and toss a few pancakes and enjoy the fancy dress costumes that did not need to work up a sweat. I only hope that there is better weather in Guildhall yard for my sleep out – see the item below.
Celebration of the Fletchers Livery at 650 https://www.fletchers.org.uk/index.php/history and Cordwainers at 750 https://cordwainers.org/ were splendid occasions that befitted their historic milestones. As the Chair of the Aldermanic subcommittee that oversees the Livery Companies (yes the Aldermen have an historic role in this regard), I was instrumental in the Fletchers receiving their first Royal Charter which was on show at the dinner with Past Master Bob Hall who was part of the Fletchers’ team.
The Sheriffs are regularly taking tours around the Old Bailey – there is a requested donation towards the Sheriffs’ and Recorder’s Fund expected but they are great fun after hours! I was pleased to host a group of international lawyers who are on the DLA Piper Global Scholars Programme https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/focus/global-scholarships/overview/#:~:text=Our%20Global%20Scholarships%20program%20supports,South%20Pacific%2C%20and%20Latin%20America with students from Goodenough College. The event was followed by dinner at the College and an audience with Lady Hale.
The annual Sheriffs’ Challenge is a fantastic initiative of the Financial Services Group of Livery Companies working with the Educators Livery. Schools across London from the state sector are given a subject to debate and present. The finalists present the topic in Number 1 Court at the Old Bailey. The Judges at the final are two Judges Sarah Munro and Anuja Dhir alongside the Sheriffs. The topic was “Should the purpose of the City of London go beyond creating wealth and jobs?” The winners were St Saviour’s & St Olave’s School supported by the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors. We only wished that we could let them all win. The exercise really develops some fabulous young people and is exceptionally worthwhile and fun.
Acting as Representative Lord Mayor
When I am asked to an event it is usually in my role as Sheriff, sometimes with the Lord Mayor and my fellow Sheriff Nick Lyons, and sometimes alone. Occasionally an event demands a Representative Lord Mayor – that is when the event is of great importance or at the Mansion House and the Lord Mayor is himself in the UK or in the City but at another event. When the Lord Mayor is out the UK then a Lord Mayor Locum Tenens (being a past Lord Mayor officiates). I was RepLM (shorthand initials) at the Leaders Council Gala in March. https://www.leaderscouncil.co.uk/ I was pleased to meet both Lord Blunkett and cricket legend Andrew Strauss and speak about support for their work.
The Sheriffs’ consorts, Glenn and Felicity, are organising a concert in the Grand Hall of the Old Bailey and it looks like it will be the hot ticket of May (see details at this link). Proceeds are in aid of the Sheriffs’ and Recorder’s Fund, https://sr-fund.org.
Whilst the Lady Mayoress’s Sleep Out is imminent and I have reached my fundraising total, I can still collect funds on my Just Giving page for a couple more weeks – in aid of The Lord Mayor’s Appeal and Spitalfields Crypt Trust: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alisongowman
You cannot have missed the Common Council elections held on 24th March with all 100 councillors up for election. Prior to the election 27 sitting members were not restanding. At the final knockings there were 38 new members. They will bring fresh ideas into the work of the Corporation. The Aldermen act as Returning Officers and so I attended the Dowgate Wardmote as Alderman with my Beadle, John Cash. I look forward to working with all the new members - and existing ones! The full results are on the City website: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-us/voting-elections/2022-city-elections-results