The alarm rang abruptly, November the 9th, the day of the Lord Mayor's Show, had burst upon us rather sooner than any of us had expected. All being well I thought, at this moment, a steamroller should be sitting on St Martins Le Grand, hopefully with smoke emanating from it's stack, a float should be on it's way from Maldon, and Victorian working costume en route from Hampton. No phone calls, I decided, was probably a good sign at this stage, and as the float was built and organised by Ian Lumsden and Alan Wiseman, I knew that we were in safe hands. My wife, Judy, helpfully suggested that whichever way the day went, it would at least be memorable!
Last minute crisis meetings aside, our main concern leading up to the day was rain- it hadn't stopped for weeks, but when the morning came, the black clouds receded to the horizon, and out came the sun- the day had truly begun with a miracle.
All set for at least a dry day, our merry band of 15 Paviors and 6 children met at Cutlers Hall to change into the relevant attire. Julia Lofthouse, had managed to talk her way through the security cordon and had appeared against all the odds with several Victorian working costumes that fitted. I have to say that we were very warmly received by the Cutlers, and in particular by the Master and his wife who kept the children amused and in order with the dagger that he was later to present to the Lord Mayor.
Having found our magnificent float in St Mary's Le Grand, a small wait ensued whilst Ian Lumsden made last minute adjustments, and as my terror receded, the carnival atmosphere grew, and after months of organisation and "interesting moments", we were off to take our well deserved place in the biggest Lord Mayor's Show for over 400 years.
I can tell you that being cheered by half a million people can really set you up for the day, and judging my the smile on the faces of all those attending a very enjoyable time was had by all supporting this great and worthy cause. Even though we were float 79, the crowds were very enthusiastic about our steamroller drawn float, and clearly the great Paul Davies Jazz Band helped to keep both them, and us walkers "in the mood". The Master and Upper Warden however can certainly work a crowd!
Those of you who were watching the television that morning would have seen the full 90 seconds exposure that the Company and our sponsors received, and I'm sure that our entry will be judged a worthwhile success. As ever, such success is a result of the efforts of the individuals involved, and I'd like to thank to all those who took time to help or attend, and in particular our sponsors: -
Ian Lumsden at Constructive
Nigel Kempner at Benchmark
Ken Riley and Ian Cameron at Tarmac
Norman Haste at Crossrail
Tom Barton at Robert McAlpine
Colin McGloughlin at General Demolition
And next year? Certainly many of those attending or involved in the organisation would be keen to participate again- maybe it'll become an annual event….