Company of Nurses welcomes our new Master at our virtual Annual Assembly held on October 5th 2020

Frances Davies

Dear Freemen

I was delighted to see so many of you at the Annual Assembly yesterday, and I look forward to keeping closely in touch with you.

I am honoured and privileged to be your Master, the fourth in our short history. As with much this year the installation had to be very different to those we have enjoyed at our Anniversary Banquets in the past.

I was nonetheless very moved to receive the Lamp from our Immediate Past Master, Elizabeth Turnbull and receive a blessing from our Chaplain. I will wear the Master’s badge with pride.

It was a pleasure to install Julia Mingay as Upper Warden and Janet Oxlade as Middle Warden. At the Court meeting beforehand, we welcomed The Right Reverend Right Honourable Dame Sarah Mullaly, Bishop of London as an Honorary Freeman. As many of you will know, Bishop Sarah trained as a nurse and before entering the ministry was Chief Nursing Officer of England.

The Immediate Past Master also admitted two new Court Assistants, David Bates and Christine Anderson. Both have served on standing committees and I welcome them to the Court.

All our thanks go to Elizabeth Turnbull, our Immediate Past Master for the work she has done during a busy year and extended year. She has represented us for 17 months at numerous functions and has been a brilliant ambassador for the Company. I had the pleasure of seeing her in action many times spreading her charm amongst those present!  She has undertaken this role with style, poise, hard work and humour and ensured that the Company is a respected and established part of City life within the Livery community. I am very grateful that she is still there with her wise advice. Along with our Honorary Clerk John Allen, Elizabeth has steered us to gaining Company status in May 2020. We are very grateful to them both.

We have had to adapt many events and looking back we will all remember 2020 for many different reasons.  Who could have foreseen the consequences of the impact of the virus on all of our lives? We have become proficient at communicating virtually, and immediately after the Annual Assembly I had the pleasure of my first virtual Freedom Ceremony as Master. These events are very special, and I hope that our 13 new Freemen and their guests enjoyed the ceremony. As soon as we are able, all those declarants will have the opportunity to celebrate in the traditional way and have their picture taken with the Master.

I hope that many of you will be able to join us at the Annual Church Service next week on Wednesday 14th October at 6pm. This will be live streamed from our Chaplain’s church and the sermon will be delivered by our Honorary Freeman, the Bishop of London. The Lord Mayor is reading the first lesson and you will be invited to join me in the act of rededication to our profession. To join please go to the website where you will find the access instructions on the front page. The Order of Service will also be on the website so that you can follow from your homes. This service will be recorded, so if you cannot be with us you can enjoy watching it later – the benefits of virtual events!

You will all have received the letter inviting you to apply to become a Bicentennial Freeman. This category of membership recognises the importance of 2020 for all nurses.  We are delighted that so many of our Freemen have already applied for this new category of membership. We will post all relevant information, including Q&As on our website. I thank you all for your support and commitment towards our progression to full Livery status.

Our Immediate Past Master outlined many of the details of the events we have held at the Annual Assembly yesterday (the full speech can be found on the website). The Chair of the Company of Nurses Charitable Trust gave us a full account of the benevolent and educational awards the Trustees have made over the past year. We are so pleased to have been able to make a difference to many of our colleagues.

The Social Committee continues to work hard to arrange virtual events for us and the calendar for 2021 is being populated as I write. Similarly, our Education and Professional Development Committee is planning a programme of virtual lectures and presentations, and it was great to see so many of you are our first virtual Education event last week.

As Master my focus, along with the Court, will be our journey towards full Livery status, and I would like to thank you again for your support in this. Do look at the website for information and let me know if I can help further.

I look forward to serving you all as your Master and to the continuing fellowship that we enjoy.




Frances Davies