New Year Address to Leicester De Montfort Round Table,
Regency Hotel, London Road, Leicester,
Thursday 8 January 2009
At little more than 24 hours’ notice, I was asked to give the New Year address to the Leicester 500 De Montfort Round Table. I may have been filling in for someone else who had dropped out at short notice, but I’m not proud! Initially, when Ash Sheikh (their Programme Officer) phoned and asked me to speak, I declined, because I’d already accepted an invitation to attend a reception for the Cllr Manjula Sood, Lord Mayor of Leicester, which the Council of Faiths was sponsoring the same evening at the Welcome Centre. But very quickly I reconsidered, called Ash back before he could find someone else and said yes. I thought that if the Lord Mayor knew that I’d turned down the chance to speak about the Council of Faiths to such a distinguished meeting for the sake of some tea and buns with her, she’d box my ears!
The Round Table meets at the Regency Hotel, London Road. Apparently, they take their New Year address from someone involved in religious life locally; I was the first to be asked to speak from a multi-faith perspective. It was a very positive experience (for me at least); they laughed at the right bits and asked good questions. I was warned beforehand that it’s their practice not to applaud the New Year address, but most of them did anyway – even though it meant the members had to pay a fine to their Sergeant-at-Arms!
I was impressed by the Round Table’s aims and objectives and the grace that was said before dinner. I thought it would be good to include them here (starting with the grace):
May we, O Lord, adopt thy creed,Adapt our ways to serve thy need,
And we who on thy bounty feed,
Improve in thought, in word and deed.
And the aims and objectives of the Round Table:
- To develop the acquaintance of young men through the medium of their various occupations;
- To emphasise the fact that one’s calling offers an excellent medium for service to the community;
- To cultivate the highest ideals in business, professional and civic traditions;
- To recognise the worthiness of all legitimate occupations and to dignify each his own by precept and example;
- To further the establishment of peace and goodwill in international relationships;
- To further these objects by meetings, lectures, discussions and other activities.
I was told later that the upper age for membership of the Round Table is 45; so if I fancied becoming a member, I’m too old, even if they’d have me!