The 749th Cordwainer year continues to be an extremely unusual one. I hesitate to say unique, because in such a long history almost everything has been seen before, and I suspect that the Master in 1665, for example, was faced with a similar shortage of social activity. We do have the advantage of technology though, and the parallel universe Company Calendar continues to thrive; as I write, the cheese (and wine!) tasting evening looming large.
We were all deeply saddened to hear of the death of Liveryman Sue Saunders recently. Sue was a much loved and active member of the Company, as well as a hugely respected footwear tutor, first at the London College of Fashion and latterly at Capel Manor College. CarréDucker put together this lovely tribute to Sue, which was first shown at the Shoemaker’s Conference in February.
The Company has continued to offer as much support to the footwear industry as we can during recent months. The Student Footwear Awards are going ahead, albeit virtually again, and we are working closely with our footwear members and other industry contacts to produce a series of podcasts and interviews about the sector, to engage members, students, and hopefully industry. We are also making good progress with setting up the endowment fund to which I referred last time, ready for a formal launch in 2022, our anniversary year. The industry can certainly do with all the support it can get. Like clothing, shoes have been defined as non-essential over the last year, which has meant the closure of shops and, as a result many factories also, as no customers means no business. I should say that describing clothes and shoes as non- essential is not an advisory dress code for Cordwainer social events – even on Zoom!
We also continue through your incredible generosity to raise money for the Royal Society for Blind Children and their new ‘Life without Limits’ Centre which is being fitted out in Lower Thames Street. The next fundraising event is the online auction due for April, – we have some exciting lots and do hope that you will be able to support the auction as generously as possible.