Andrew Scott DL, Chairman of the UGS Trustees has written to the Lord Mayor to regretfully inform him that the United Guilds Service has had to be postponed until 2022.
Dear Lord Mayor,
The issue of scheduling a United Guilds Service has commanded the closest attention from the Trustees for many months now. Having been thwarted in March 2020 at the very outset of the pandemic, at various stages, we looked hopefully at both March and then May 2021, only to be denied technically by HMG restrictions and in reality by sensibleness.
A third window of opportunity in late June has been further considered. However, by unanimous decision, and with regret, the Trustees have elected to postpone the Service for this annual cycle in favour of resumption next Spring. At time of writing, we all welcome the encouraging signs for the national re-opening with its staged approach. It comes with a note of official caution, important because policy detail regarding the staging of densely-packed major indoor events after the 21st June remains absent. It is thought quite possible that some degree of social distancing indoors will continue which in a cathedral setting may greatly restrict numbers. St Paul’s have been generous and flexible with their scheduling and costs. However, the Trustees felt it was not reasonable to commit a sizeable sum of money (relative to our Reserves held on behalf of all Livery Companies) without sufficient sureness of being able to deliver a safe, well-attended and enjoyable Service. As a yardstick, it is our understanding that there are no other major events at St Paul’s before September.
I know this will be a disappointment. It is not a decision that has been taken lightly and we recognise that there are many and diverse views on matters of travel and gathering. Furthermore, cancellation will be of no solace to anyone holding a post of fixed tenure to miss one of the highlights of the Livery calendar. Nonetheless, we are resolved to the delivery of a United Guilds Service in Spring 2022, taking forward the tradition that has served us well in years gone by.
Andrew Scott DL
Chairman of the UGS Trustees