As part of our programme to support our Lord Mayor, Alderman Charles Bowman, Vice President of the Phoenix Masters Association, we committed to help increase participation in this year’s City Giving Day. Last year 222 organisations took part and Charles set a target of 300 for 2018. 305 organisations took part this year, a 37% increase. The Lord Mayor was delighted.
The day began with the Lord Mayor opening the Stock Exchange and then he moved to Guildhall Yard where he gave a brief speech and then organised a group photo with the Sheriffs and their consorts, the Aldermen and other supporters and participating organisations. There were four Phoenixes in this group, all of whom had got up at unearthly times to join in, Tim Haywood, John Nugée, Bill Mahony and myself.
Tim and Bill then joined up with Alderman William Russell to accompany him on his visits while John and I paired up with Alderman Sheriff Tim Hailes and his consort, former Sheriff Fiona Adler. We first visited Standard Chartered Bank which is celebrating the 15th anniversary of supporting a charity called “Seeing is Believing”. This has done remarkable work in numerous under-developed countries arranging for optical surgery on millions of people thus saving their sight.
They have an outstanding pictorial exhibition of this work. Sheriff Hailes was then set a challenge that employees would also do during the day. A course had been mapped out involving small cones, bean bags, a hurdle and a finishing line. Tim was blindfolded and then guided by voice but without touching to slalom through the cones, pick up the beanbags, step over the hurdle and finish. The purpose was for people to feel just how difficult it is to move around and perform simple tasks if you are blind.
Next to the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. 50 Year Six pupils from an Islington Academy Primary School came to take part in a mock trial involving the alleged theft of a necklace. The pupils took the roles of judges, barristers, and witnesses.
Back to Guildhall Yard where stalls had been set up to sell food and drink to the public with a share of profits going to the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. There were also giant games stalls with Jenga and Connect 4 which Tim and Fiona contested fiercely with Fiona triumphing in both.
Off to St Paul’s outside which the Tour de City was taking place. A large group all in red City Giving Day tee shirts was competing furiously in static bike rides, companies versus companies. Tim and fellow Sheriff Neil Redcliffe presented prizes to the winners before posing for the camera on bikes.
Tim returned to the Old Bailey to host lunch with the judges while John and I joined our colleagues at St Stephen’s Walbrook for a champagne reception with Taittinger Brut and Canapés by Hispania. We then repaired around the corner for the Long, Long Lunch in St Swithin’s Lane. We were joined by four more Phoenix Masters, Isobel Pollock-Hulf, Erica Stary, Ian Makowski and Peter Thompson. Three other restaurants 1 Lombard Street, The Don and Coq D’Argent then took turns in supplying the three courses of a delicious meal with wines from Trinity Hill and Hawkes Bay.
Bill Mahony and Tim Haywood report:
“We risked life and limb whilst being pedal power driven around the City, which was a sea of red with Alderman William Russell on the CIBC World Markets’ bus. The Lord Mayor on a pedi-bus from Mansion House joined us, before heading off to the Cheesegrater to meet Aon, who also were pedalling in sequence for an endurance test. The Lord Mayor showed genuinely impressive leg power on a static bike. Aon was raising money for its third year for Suited and Booted, a charity which grooms ex-service personnel for civilian work.
We visited offices where a crowd of enthusiastic brokers vied to build the highest mountain of Sugar Cubes (sugar traders of course Kane was running that). Next door The Great British Bake Off was being re-enacted, giving us energy to dash to St Pauls to watch The Tour de London on static bikes- very impressive!
Then we joined Alderman Peter Estlin at The Bank of China which had staged a mad carnival-like exhibition with hundreds of staff manning stands to demonstrate the inclusion of all the countries on the Silk Road, and several random others. Each stall holder was trying to outshout his neighbours. The din was incredible. William sped off for lunch at the Gresham Centre whilst we made our way back to St. Stephen’s before joining The Long, Long Lunch.”
These are just a few of the examples of what many companies get up to in terms of philanthropy, not only raising money but also actively working with charities and encouraging their staff to volunteer. City Giving Day is going from strength to strength as indeed are the Phoenix Masters. Ian Makowski said “a splendid day. Great company, food and weather, what more could we have asked for!”
Past Master Marketor