Well, all good things come to an end, and after two years rather than one, a good one.
Our address to Common Hall was as Carry On Sheriffs for our Late Sheriffs Reply To Vote Of Thanks
Common Hall, Wednesday, 29 September 2021, Guildhall
Two “muted” signs in front of microphone stands.
My Lord Mayor, Fellow Liverymen:
No, this is not the Silent Ceremony.
Michael Mainelli unmutes self.
Chris and I were thrilled to be elected by you, our livery brothers and sisters, over two years ago at Midsummer. A number of you have commented that we truly are the ‘carry on’ Sheriffs. As we like to remind the Lord Mayor, we are the first Sheriffs to serve two consecutive years since 1228 AD, when Henry III declared himself of age to assume the throne. Thus we’ve had two Sheriffs’ Challenges for young people; two sheep drives, two Pearly Kings & Queens; and three Sheriffs’ Bravery Awards. The great thing is that the two of us still get on despite our prison term being doubled at the Old Bailey. Don’t we, Chris?
Christopher Hayward gesticulates.
In true Carry On fashion, I often say to Chris, “May the great God Russell bring blessings on your house.”
Christopher Hayward starts to talk. Michael Mainelli walks over and unmutes, staying there.
“And on yours.”
Michael Mainelli mutes Christopher Hayward and returns to his microphone.
“And may his radiance light up your darkness.”
Christopher Hayward walks over, mutes Michael Mainelli and returns to his microphone, and unmutes.
“And up yours.” In the immortal line from “Carry On Up The Jungle”, I often say to Michael, “I’m flabbergasted, my gast has never been so flabbered.” Rather than gaining weight, many of you know I wound up losing 46 lbs for charity, the same amount a prisoner receives on release. Over the course of our two years we were thrilled to raise well over £150,000 net for charity through a combination of things such as my weight loss, Michael’s Ride Round the Range, the fifth Sheriffs’ Ball, and over 60 tours of the Old Bailey.
Then in March last year we were struck by the dreadful Covid pandemic. Five months of Shrieval social whirl came crashing to a halt as we worked out how to adapt the Old Bailey, the Shrievalty, and the City to the pandemic.
Michael Mainelli gesticulating, Christopher Hayward unmutes Michael Mainelli, returns, mutes himself.
Oh mute on me, mute on me, they’re all putting mute on me. Yes, the pandemic led us to change many things. While we and the Lord Mayor missed out on civic travel, we Sheriffs chaired or presented at some 800 video-conferencing webinars. We held two virtual ‘movie’ evenings at the Old Bailey that had 1,300 people watching the legal documentary “Life Is Wonderful: Mandela’s Unsung Heroes”. We held eight Financial Services Group of Livery Company events to highlight the need to strengthen and simplify anti-money laundering. We still managed to lunch, or dine, with 1,000 people personally. Along the way the City of Xi’an provided us with a permanent gift to the Old Bailey of a terracotta warrior, nicknamed “Mike” for some reason by the staff. And, yes, one dark afternoon I was allowed to play my bagpipes, alone, in the Grand Hall.
Michael Mainelli unmutes Christopher Hayward, returns, and mutes himself.
“Oooh Sheriff”. But we didn’t do it alone. The thanks we owe to everyone are copious. Doing an extra year meant our businesses donated another year of our time to the City. Every livery company and ward club radiated positive, can do, energy. Each livery company and ward club seems to be outdoing the others in a wide range of events – history, architecture, science, crafts, politics, economics, and the environment. Our City was mentally and virtually alive as never before.
We had outstanding support from everyone at the Old Bailey starting with the Recorder, Common Serjeant, and judges to our fantastic footmen, Sean and Nick. The cleaning, security, and administrative team supported us superbly, and discreetly. The catering team have been a constant threat to both Michael and my waistlines as we fought to endeavour to keep ourselves trim. Our colleagues on Common Council and the Court of Aldermen, and the entire Mansion House and Guildhall teams never wavered in trying to find new ways to do old things. And new ways to do new things as well.
Michael Mainelli unmutes himself.
Thanks to so many supporters could go on and on from the Cook & Butler at that first breakfast to the City rowing team that will take us away downriver this Friday, but we’d like to single out two special thanks. First, to the two Mayoral teams we worked with, two great introductory months with Peter & Lindy Estlin, and then twenty-two wonderful months with William & Hilary.
But the biggest thanks of all must go to our wives and families for all of their support, especially when faced with the idea that in my case our two teenage children would spend another year with us in the Old Bailey. To my darling wife Alexandra I say a heartfelt ‘thank you’. I could never have carried out the many civic duties of this very high office without your love, support, encouragement, and understanding. And although not with us today I too want to recognise our two children Richard and Elizabeth who have suffered much to allow Daddy to be Sheriff. Indeed, they have embraced the opportunity despite the demands of the role on our family life.
But our time is over and we wish Alison and Nick every success in their year as Sheriffs.
Like Chris, my biggest thanks go to Elisabeth and our family. To lose one family year for our beloved City is fortunate, but to lose two years begins to look careless. The City is always about continuity and change, conducting our rituals while seeking to renew our relevance. So, in partial thanks, we’ll leave you with the big lesson we learned these past two years:
Turn to each other, then look to audience.
Just “Keep Calm and Sheriff On.”
Christopher Hayward – So it’s goodbye from me
Michael Mainelli – and it’s goodbye from him!
Turn and look at each other, then look back to audience.
BOTH – Good Bye.