Well, there we are – we now have a NEW Lord Mayor – officially in office for the coming year. Alderman Roger Gifford, banker has become 685th Lord Mayor in history & taken over from out-going Lord Mayor David Wooton.
However, I was told the delay in the Lord Mayor returning to his new home, the Mansion House, was due to the beautiful 300 years old golden coach breaking down. Was this true? Was this the banker’s curse? In his publicity interviews Alderman Roger Gifford promised to improve the tarnished bankers image, but did the golden coach mire the image further?
On a less hypothetical note, I can tell you that the Free City Tour I took after the Lord Mayor’s Show, involved 18 visitors accompanying me to St. Mary le-Bow, St. Paul’s Cathedral, 1, ew Change, the site of a monastery, a castle, a theatre & a couple of pubs – though we did not have enough time to enter any of them together.
A truly International group, with visitors from Russia, Canada , Japan & Charleston, America, as well as home grown folk. They were a delightful crowd!
This year’s mayor’s charity is “The City in Society”. This comprises the City Music Foundation & the Lord Mayor’s Scholarship Programmes. Sir John Cass’s Foundation & the Lord Mayor Scolarship Programme will meet the costs of tuition & maintenance fees for young Londoners facing financial hardship at University. The Mansion House scholarship scheme will be offering scholarships to overseas students from developing countries for masters degrees at British Universities & work placements in the financial services sector here. These offers of financial support are desperately needed – but seems rather ironic coming from a guy whose lifelong background is with those who make profit from loans to students & will now be offering to GIVE students money, no strings attached!
The Gifford Wood Appeal will fund the planting of 4,500 trees on a 5-acre site acquired by the City of London. To extend Epping Forest & plant native oak & hornbeam trees. Also to plant pioneer species, more tolerant of projected changes in climate & create a seed bank to secure these species for the future. This will tie-in neatly with the educational work of the recently opened visitor centre “The View” situated next to Queen Elizabeth’s 16th century Hunting Lodge in Eppping Forest. So, here we have the promise of the City giving something back, not only to the coming student generation, but to all generations in the way of trees for our future environment.