More than 100 liverymen and freemen of the Worshipful Company of Actuaries and their guests gathered in the Clothworkers' Hall on 25 September for the Autumn Livery Dinner. This was the first time the Company had held a dinner at Clothworkers' Hall. The WCA were grateful to the Clothworkers for making their fine hall available, and were delighted to have the master of the Clothworkers' Company, Mr Christopher McLean May, as a guest.
This was the second livery dinner in the term of the WCA master Charles Cowling, who has adopted as his theme for the year: 'Making a difference in the lives of others'. Guest speakers at each of these two dinners have certainly underlined this theme with challenging and thought-provoking topics.
The principal guest on this occasion was Esther Rantzen CBE, the journalist and TV presenter, also well-known for her work on charitable causes. Esther led the establishment of Childline, now part of the NSPCC, focused on supporting children suffering abuse. On its first night of operation in October 1986, Childline received 50,000 calls from children around the country. This call rate continued for the following six weeks, showing the depth of need in this area. Childline is now in its 27th year of operation, and has been emulated in more than 100 countries. Childline and its volunteers continue to play a critical role today in educating and supporting children in need.
Esther has been prominent in the creation of Silverline, a support and befriending service for the elderly. Esther talked about widespread loneliness amongst older people and the stigma that people feel in talking about it. Silverline launched last month after securing £5m funding from the National Lottery Fund.
Esther Rantzen has certainly 'made a difference', and her inspiring speech left us all thinking about what each of us could do individually, and as a Company, to make a difference to the lives of others.
For further details, visit Silverline: www.thesilverline.org.uk/