AGM and Dinner 10th September 2019

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The Phoenix Masters armed themselves for the year ahead

The 3rd Annual General Meeting of the Phoenix Masters Association was held at Armourers’ Hall courtesy of Colonel David Wynne Davies, Past Master Armourer & Brazier. Honorary Vice President Dr Christine Rigden was again in the chair.

But first a Special General Meeting was held in order to propose and approve an amendment to the Constitution of the Association. The first Constitution adopted in September 2016 had largely been copied from a template used by other PMAs. In practice it had proved impractical and the proposed amendment would mean that only the principal officers, the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer would be elected for a three year term when they would stand if they wished for re-election but any other member was free to stand as well. The other members of the committee would be appointed or co-opted as has been the practice, but again any other member was welcome to volunteer to join the Committee, as has indeed happened.
The proposal was unanimously approved and the Special meeting closed.

Dr Rigden then opened the AGM and the Chairman Mark Chambers added his welcome. The Association had increased in membership to 108, had healthy finances, an exciting events programme and progress in our Outreach & Purpose activities.

The Honorary Treasurer Patrick Reeve reported on the accounts. As at 31st August there was £9,241 in the bank though it was noted that three members had prepaid the next 3-5 years. There was still some champagne stock though this was being depleted while Patrick was speaking. He again encouraged members to pay membership and event charges by Go Cardless as this was so much more efficient than traditional methods.

Dr David Pearson reported on the activities supporting the Lord Mayor’s charities as well as in this special year the Sheriffs’ charities. We have continued to support Sir Charles Bowman’s charity the Samaritans and will continue to do so until November 2020, the end of the current continuum. As well as helping promote ‘Wellbeing in the City’, now re-named ‘Wellbeing in the Workplace’, we have also helped with the upcoming launch of the Samaritans’ City Hub, the first physical presence in the City. The Innholders, prompted by Phoenix Past Master Julia Sibley, have made a splendid donation of £50,000 to this effort. Sir Charles will chair a Founding Partners’ committee for the City Hub and we have been asked to provide a member. Phoenix PM Plaisterer Bill Mahony has kindly agreed to do this as a Samaritan of many years’ standing.

City Giving Day. 23rd September 2018. We helped the Lord Mayor’s Appeal achieve Sir Charles’ target of 300 participating organisations. The final total was 313, an increase of over 40%. We also helped our very own Sheriff Liz Green in her fundraising activities such as the Bridge at the Bailey evening.
Events Secretary John Nugée reported on a full programme of events. These have previously been reported in these newsletters and on the website. He also described an exciting opportunity for an exclusive visit to HMS Warrior in Portsmouth. This ship represents the link between Nelsonian ships and the Dreadnought generation. For half a century it was the most powerful warship on the seas. It has been wonderfully restored and we will have the opportunity to hear a lecture, have a tour and then sit down to a black-tie dinner among the guns. This is all thanks to the efforts of our Hon Secretary who is a Trustee. John asked the meeting to show their interest in attending with a choice of two dates. There was sufficient interest for this to proceed and the preferred date is 22nd May 2020.

Dr Rigden then presided over the election of officers. All three officers were willing to stand for a second term, there being no other candidates all three were universally acclaimed and indeed thanked for their efforts and their dedication. Mark Chambers was elected as Chairman for a further three years as were Isobel Pollock-Hulf as Honorary Secretary and Patrick Reeve as Honorary Treasurer.

After further depleting our champagne stock we sat down to dinner in the breath-taking hall, where we were presided over by Col David Wynne Davies. The menu consisted of:
• Grilled Fillet of Brill, Spinach compote, Hollandaise sauce
• New Forest Beef with a cep mushroom crust, Madeira jus, shallot fondant potatoes & carrots
• Soft Poached Pear & Apple with a sweet saffron sauce, caramelized hazelnut, walnut ice cream
• Tea, coffee and chocolates
Accompanying wines expertly chosen and introduced by John Nugée were:
• Reception – Champagne “Cuvée Phoenix”
• Chablis St Bris Sauvignon, J Moreau & Fils, 2015
• Côte de Beaune Villages, Maison Louis Latour, 2014
• Muskat Ottonel Late Harvest, Julius Hafner, 2016
• Port – Taylors LV, 2012
• Brandy – Martell VS Cognac

There was general consensus that all of these were excellent and there was also plenty of banter with a great atmosphere. This was helped by Colonel Wynne Davies who told us he was not going to make a speech but nevertheless gave us fascinating insights into the history of the Company and the Hall. 61 members of the Association had all had a good time and some were heard to say “This was our best yet!”