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Letter of the month: John Henty

I was saddened to learn of the death of Bernard Fison (Obituaries, Jan/Feb 2008). I fondly remember the time some years ago when, as a member of the Institute’s secretariat, I was secretary to the committee which was responsible for organising the Biennial Dinner at Grosvenor House. Bernard was my chairman for some years.

Traditionally, Grosvenor House had supplied the wines for dinner but Bernard, being an innovative chairman, believed we could do better financially and qualitatively by bringing in our own wines. So, at a committee meeting at Staple Inn late one afternoon to discuss arrangements, Bernard brought along his wine partner colleague from Phillips and Drew to provide a tasting.

As I recall, the meeting was concluded in record time to enable full and proper consideration to be given to the serious business of tasting the seven red and seven white wines, lined up in military fashion in the Council Chamber. It was a difficult choice and it took some time to decide but somebody had to do it. Eventually the best red was selected, but only the second best white, on the basis that it had a prettier label that would prove more attractive to the ladies! After meetings, Bernard and I would usually repair to the Cittie of Yorke to consider the minutes.

Are Institute committee meetings still so enjoyable? Do such chairmen still exist?

John Henty
8 February 2008

The writer of the Letter of the month receives a Venecia fountain pen kindly supplied by HBOS


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