Each November, the City of London is host to a spectacular parade celebrating the election of the new Lord Mayor ‘for the year ensuing’. The Lord Mayor’s Show is the largest and oldest street pageant in the world and first took place in 1215. These days, the 3-mile long procession comprises some 150 floats, along with marching bands and ceremonial officers.
This year, for the first time in the history of the Show, the Order of St Lazarus was represented in the parade, which celebrated the election of HE Alderman Vincent Keaveny GCLJ GCrLJ as the 693rd Lord Mayor of the City of London. Vincent is a senior member of the Order, who has served as both a national and international officer and he is the first member of the Order to be elected to the high office of Lord Mayor of London.
In celebration of this great honour, the Grand Priory of England & Wales, supported by The Leprosy Mission, sponsored a float in the parade, in the form of a 1960s open top double decker bus, suitably liveried in green and cream. Video screens on the sides of the bus drew attention to the work of both organisations in the relief of leprosy (Hansen’s disease) worldwide, and giant QR codes led interested onlookers to the websites of the 2 charities.
The Grand Master and Grand Master Emeritus, accompanied by the Grand Master’s wife, Sophie Karoly, joined the Bailiff and other officers of the Grand Priory, along with representatives of the St Lazarus and TLM charities, waving to the crowds from the bus as it moved through the City, preceded by the processional cross, and escorted by the flags and gonfalons of the Commanderies of the Jurisdiction. This was a spectacular occasion that will live in the memory for a long time.
A short video of the day can be found on the Order’s Vimeo channel at https://vimeo.com/649053538