Company Comment 2019

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Norman P J Morris

Master’s Report 2018-2019

"Where does time go? It flies by! It is difficult to believe that it has been a year since the last AGM when I was greatly honoured to be elected Master of the Honourable Company.

Much has happened in the past 12 months. Many changes, some that may have not always been universally welcomed by all of our members, as we try to grow and progress, by keeping solvent and remaining relevant, but we have always have kept to our core principles and traditions.

My Report will be brief, which is always welcome. You will see from the Committee Reports that much has happened this past year, orchestrated by an active and supportive Court, which, despite their very busy schedules, agreed to start meeting every two months rather than 3, as was the previous practice.

Of course, my year as Master, started with our Annual Dinner, which is always well attended. We were entertained by a most amusing speech by The Reverend Canon David Parrot who, amongst his many titles and roles is the Chaplain to the City of London Corporation and Honourary Chaplain to many Livery companies. Also, in attendance were Aldermen from The City.

I also had the opportunity to meet the former Lord Mayor of London and his team here in Toronto. Just prior to our meeting he had been to Hong Kong & China. He mentioned that he spent most of his time travelling around the world promoting The City as a leading world Finance centre. He and his team were delighted to hear that I wanted our organization to become "The Voice of The City in North America" and he offered the support of his office and we have started weekly communications. The current Lord Mayor has also just been to HK and toured 3 cities in China (Shenzhen, Shanghai & Beijing) promoting Fintech & Green Finance. The City is also supportive of the Belt & Road Initiative. In addition, The Lord Mayor's appeal had raised funds for a "poverty alleviation project" to start this summer. Subsequently, the Honourable Company joined with the BCCTC on a Belt & Road Initiative Conference in conjunction with the HK Government to show opportunities available to UK & Canadian companies. We are lead to believe that the current Lord Mayor Peter Estlin will be coming to Toronto this year and I'm hopeful he will meet with the Honourable Company.

Other highlights have included our annual "meet the Court" held on a lovely sunny evening at the Old Mill, our Whisky Tasting at the Caledonian on a cold night and our Court Christmas/New Year Pub Lunch.

One of the changes mentioned above is the decision to move our Annual Dinner to the RCMI this year. Whilst the National Club has been a marvelous host over many years, it was decided to try something new. Special thanks to Past Master Ishrani Jaikaran & Hans Bathija for conducting smooth negotiations.

As always, the Court and various committees have worked incredibly hard to move things forward, so special thanks to;
Dean Smith the Honourary Treasurer and incoming Master for keeping us in credit;

Michele McCarthy who as Clerk for keeping us up to date with events in London and sending out Minutes & Agendas so efficiently;
Peter Reed for keeping our records updated and for a smooth handover to our incoming Membership Committee Chair – enjoy your days in the sun (delighted to be able to say that we have been adding new members and attracting volunteers for the Court);

Gerard Ezinwoke for producing a very readable Company Comment and for looking into the opportunities of updating our communications;

And never forgetting Past Master John Welch, Chair Company Trust &
Ken Foxcroft Trust Treasurer, who have not only kept the funds coming in, but also worked on many ideas to expand our relationship with George Brown College. I would like to point out at this time that our Charitable Trust plays an important role in the ethos of The Company and we do greatly appreciate your donations.

Lastly, thank you to Ashley Prime for continuing to represent us in London and being our Liaison with The City.

After all the positive news, I am very sad to finish up by saying that just before Christmas we lost Past Master John Smith. A true gentleman, member and friend to so many, myself included. His cheerful smile enhanced all the events that he made every effort to attend. In appreciation of all he has done, the Court decided to change the name of The Masters' Meritorious Award to the John Smith Meritorious Award henceforth in honour of his long contribution

Thank you very much to all of you for a wonderful 12 months. I look forward to supporting the incoming Master & Court!

Respectfully submitted,

Norman P J Morris

Master "

Worshipful Company of International Bankers & Guild of Freemen

“I would like to be remembered as a man who had a wonderful time living life, a man who had good friends, fine family- and I don’t think I could ask for anything more than that”

Frank Sinatra

John Smith passed away on December 16, 2018 in Oakville just a few months before his 80th birthday.

He is survived by his wife Sally, whom he was married to for 54 years. He has one daughter, Nicola (Carlos) and a grandson Noah, who was the apple of his eye!  John spent 48 years in banking which included Barclays Bank in the UK and The Royal Bank of Canada.

He was associated with many organizations including the Leander Club in Henley-on-Thames UK and was area chairman of the Round Table. In Canada he was a past President of the British Canadian Chamber of Trade and Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville. Other associations were the Guild of Freeman, The Worshipful Company of International Bankers, Thunderers and past Master of the Freeman of the City of London. 
John and Sally loved to travel and made some great friends on their journeys. Friends and family were very important to John and he would do anything for someone in need. Those of us who knew him even for a short period of time are grateful for his generosity of spirit. He will be greatly missed, always remember and celebrated by us all.


“My connections with John were varied. The British Canadian Chamber of Trade and Commerce, The Honourable Company of Freemen of the City of London, The St. George’s Society of Toronto and The Thunderers, amongst others.

I regard John as a gentleman with a great character and he was indeed an honourable man. Nothing much phased him, if he didn’t know he would find out. The overall picture was important to him, but so was the detail. And likewise, he was important to us, leading by example and having so much to share.

John’s commitment was a talent he carried into all the Associations he was associated with. He exemplified and championed everything those Associations, such as Rotary, the Honourable Company, the British Canadian Chamber, the Salvation Army, even his Condo Board, to name just a few, stood for. A giant in all aspects of his volunteer life.”

from : Past Master John Bishop, Guild of Freemen

“Typically on Thunderers Thursdays the Oakville and Mississauga mob travel in on the GO train to Downtown Toronto. We always travel in the upper level of the disability Coach much to the amusement of our follow passengers who are always intrigued by this jovial group dressed in Black tie, dinner suits and some in kilts. But the trip in tonight was much more somber and reflective as one of our regulars was missing. The missing member of our travelling group was our dear friend John Smith who as you most probably know by now collapsed in his home in Oakville and pronounced dead at Oakville Hospital on Sunday December 16th:-

John would have been 80 in March and he and Sally had been married for 54 years. They emigrated to Canada in 1973.

John was born and spent his formative years in Henley- on- Thames just west of London

John was conscripted into the British Air Force in 1957.

John’s career in banking spanned 48years, firstly with Barclays Bank in the UK and then with the Royal Bank of Canada upon his emigration to Canada. John worked in many branches before being appointed to manager of RBC’s Windsor Branch on his way to the Private Banking group at RBC’s Head Office. On his way to HO John also spent time as manager of the RBC’s Oakville Branch.

As you know. John was a great joiner of organisations.
Unlike many who just join and enjoy the benefits of membership John worked tirelessly for his chosen causes and providing support for the local community. John was a past President of his Condo Corporation and a past President of the British Chamber of Trade and Commerce. Past Treasurer and Master of the Honourable Company of Freemen of the City of London of North America. Area Chair of the Round Table in Henley.Oakville Rotary was a big part of John’s community support where John chaired several of their committee’s more lately the Oakville Rotary club’s successful speaker’s series in support of the new Oakville Hospital. As a mark of his community support, just three days before his passing John with his fellow Rotarians Manned Salvation Army donation kettles at the local mall.

A yearly high point for John was when he Volunteered to help out at the Annual Canadian Open. His job was escorting all the famous players to make sure that they met their tee times. In doing this John rubbed shoulders with all the golfing greats over the years.
John joined Thunderers in 1991 and was accorded emeritus status for all of his hard work on our behalf. John became the only non-UK resident Thor of our International dining group in 2009 and served as Thor until 2012.

John was my best friend and a great friend to all of us here tonight.

I will miss him greatly; we will all miss him greatly.
Could you please rise and bow you heads in Remembrance and personal reflection of all the wonderful memories that John has left us with.

I would like you all now to charge your glasses and join me in a toast to John Smith and a life well lived.

I would like to thank Sally and Nicola for organising this wonderful celebration of John’s life here today so that we might afford our great friend with a memorable send off.”

From: Past Master Ken Foxcroft, Worshipful Company of International Bankers

 “When John Smith became my bank manager at Royal Bank’s downtown head office, we quickly discovered our common Goodenough connection, that I had been a post graduate student at Goodenough College in London and he had begun his banking career at Barclays Bank under William Goodenough, a much younger generation to Sir Roger Goodenough, a nephew of the founder of both Goodenough College and Barclays Bank in the 19th Century.

If there were a single word to describe John, it would be ebullient - bubbling over and enthusiastic in the extreme. He more than fitted these definitions, along with his wonderful ability at building and maintaining friendships. There were few if any who didn’t know him in the downtown Toronto business world, and he them.  And how he loved and supported everything English, from the many related associations he belonged to (including the Freemen of the City of London) to England’s sports teams - especially its rugby team, of which he was a fanatical supporter.  When England last won the Six Nations Championship there wasn’t a friend of his who didn’t hear about it!  He also loved cricket, in which he was a staunch supporter of England.  Not unsurprisingly, he was somehow always free whenever I invited him to watch a touring team play at the Toronto Cricket Club.

John was a confidant and dear friend who is going to be sorely missed by all of those who were lucky enough to get to know him, as I did.  I will always treasure his memory.”
From : Michael Graham

We are truly honoured to celebrate the life of Past Master John Smith he was a true English gentleman, respected and loved by all who knew him. His memory will forever be in our hearts.



Following the Honourable Company’s Annual General Meeting held April 18th 2018, at the Royal Canadian Military Institute, the first event was the Annual Dinner on May 4th 2018 at the National Club.

The special guest speaker was Reverend Canon David Parrott, Guild Vicar who brought good wishes from the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers. The Master’s Chain was presented to the Honourable Company by the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers at the time of the Founding of the Honourable Company. We were also delighted to welcome Matthew Richardson, City Alderman of the Ward of Billingsgate and Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers and his wife Erica, Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Painter Stainer.

Alderman Matthew Richardson graciously invested the new Master during the investiture of the Court.

The Court for 2018 consisted:

Norman P.J. Morris

Deputy Master & Treasurer
Dean Smith

Honourable Clerk
Michele McCarthy Worshipful Company of Scriveners

Immediate Past Master
Ishrani Jaikaran

Wardens of Court
Past Master Ishrani Jaikaran, Tom O'Carroll, Dean Smith, Michèle McCarthy Worshipful Company of Scriveners, Past Master John Welch Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers, Past Master Ken Foxcroft Worshipful Company of International Bankers, Peter Reed, Past Master Frances Sommerville, Gerard Ezinwoke

Member Emeritus
Past Master Captain G. Raymond Gibson, Founding Master.
Honourable Company of Air Pilots

Ex Officio
City and Guildhall Liaison: Past Master Neil Purcell, Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers

London Clerk: Ashley Prime


Past Master John Welch Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers

Past Master Ken Foxcroft Worshipful Company of International Bankers

Immediate Past Master Ishrani Jaikaran

Michele McCarthy Worshipful Company of Scriveners

Gerard Ezinwoke

Master Norman Morris closed the evening by outlining his plans for his year in Office and thanking everyone for attending, the National Club for the food and service, the sponsors and the donors for their wine contribution.

The Honourable Company would like to express its gratitude and thank the following Past Masters and Members who generously supported the Annual Dinner:
The Past Master John Bishop, Past Master Ken Foxcroft, Past Master Tom O’Carroll,  John Sleeman, Past Master John Smith and Past Master John Welch.

A very successful evening, which concluded at 11pm.



Freemen Garden Party Photos held on Tuesday June 12, 2018 at the Old Mill. The event replaces our “Meet the Court” event held in previous years new members to the company who attended were welcomed.

During the year April 2018 – March 2019 we greeted the following new members

Robert Clark Jr (August 9, 2018)
Jess Gill (March 28, 2018)
James Lord (December 6, 2018)
Edward McNabb (March 28, 2018)
John O’Dwyer (August 9, 2018)
Xin Yue Zhang (December 4, 2018)


On Tuesday 19th March our annual Whiskey Tasting took place at the Caledon, at 856 College Street West home of over 360 Whisky’s.

Our host & owner of the Caledon, David, produced his unique package for the Honourable Company, of Leek & Potato Soup, paired with Haggis, Neeps & Tatties completed by Sticky Toffee Pudding. This year he added 5 whiskeys for the tasting. These were; a Scapa 2005 Distillery Label ( FFB ), Bunnahabhain 2006 G & M ( B & S ), Aberlour A’bunadh ( FFS ), Ardbeg An Oa ( PX/B/FO ) and a Caol Ila 2007 G and M ( B ). With each one he generously shared his vast knowledge of these and other whiskies and the regions that they came from.  This is truly an experience and we are grateful that he spends his time with us and answered many questions for the enthusiasts!

Do not miss the 2020 event!!


CHARITABLE TRUST UPDATE: Past Master John Welch, Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers:

As reported last year, we established a scholarship with George Brown College School of  Fashion Arts to provide further assistance to a student to continue their studies towards a degree in their field of study at the University of the Arts London, England. This was initiated to more closely align our association with trades related education and the long history of the City of London Livery companies, a number of which are fashion related. Although early in development it will be our continued objective in conjunction and assistance with the University of Arts to build relationships with those fashion related Livery Companies.

We are delighted to announce that our first George Brown scholar is Hilary Roskey studying business management in the fashion industry.


Hilary Roskey

Hilary is currently working on a course project to present a youth-oriented marketing programme to Puma Athletics. We have also submitted our second funding installment to George Brown and look forward to the next recipient.

We continue to plan and discuss significant and exciting fundraising events for our Charity.




The Freemen of London (North America) is very much part of the Livery Companies with us attending every Clerks meeting which helps keep North America and specifically Canada’s profile high. We have seen a steady flow of Canadians or Americans based in North America or coming to London for their Freedom Ceremony, which, like for all, is always a memorable event. The Clerk of the Chamberlain's Court, Murray Craig or his Deputy Laura Miller always make us very welcome at the ceremonies and never fail to make the ceremony a wonderful day, deepening the relationships we have with the City of London.

Laura Miller, Deputy Clerk, Frederick W Russell-Rivoallan, Ernie the Beadle, Ashley Prime, London Clerk

Ashley Prime
London Clerk


We are delighted to welcome Jeffrey Lewis, who kindly stepped in as Acting Membership Chair.



In 2017 under the direction of the Past Master Ishrani Jaikaran, a twitter account was opened up in an attempt to be more active with our “social media” presence. Members were encouraged to open up individual account and follow out twitter handle for news and activities updates from other Livery Companies as well as the City of London. This continued under Master Norman Morris in 2018 and in addition Master Norman Morris and the Court are very keen on enhancing and improving our web presence through our website.

Gerard Ezinwoke







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