For our readers who do not know, Damian has three siblings – his older half-brother William Russell and half-sister Amanda (Russell) Yaxley from his mother Charlotte (Bowater) Lewis’s first marriage – and his younger brother Gareth Lewis. And what a talented bunch these siblings are! Amanda is a prominent and licensed counselor in Bristol, Gareth is a writer, producer and director, and William Anthony Bowater Russell was just elected as the 692nd Lord Mayor of London on October 1, 2019, taking office on November 9, 2019.
William appears destined for his new position, as his maternal grandfather, Sir Ian Bowater, GBE, was Lord Mayor of London from 1969-1970 and his great-grandfather Sir Frank Bowater was Lord Mayor from 1938–1939. Moreover, William has been working in the City for over 30 years in national and international banking and is a dedicated educational entrepreneur, the past chair and co-founder of the Knightsbridge School and its international arm KSI. He is on the board of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where his brother Damian attended and graduated from in 1993, and has served as governor at several schools in addition to his work on the City’s committees.
The Lord Mayor of London is chosen from the Aldermen and is the leader of the City of London Corporation. Elected for one-year terms, the Lord Mayor’s main role, both traditionally and in the modern world, is to represent, support and promote the businesses in the City of London to the world as a leader in trade, financial technology, innovation in areas like cybersecurity and green finance, and in culture, which William sees as vitally important to society. The Lord Mayor of London is the international spokesperson for the City, leading business delegations overseas to key international markets on behalf of the entire UK-based financial sector. He will look to strengthen economic ties with the UK, identify new business opportunities and promote the UK as a top global destination for foreign investment.
What does all of this mean for Damian? Well it means the month of November proved extremely busy for Damian’s family, as it involved three major events related to William taking office as Lord Mayor of London. First up was the Lord Mayor’s Silent Ceremony, followed the next day by the Lord Mayor’s Show and closing out the month with the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.
Let’s start with The Silent Ceremony.
The Lord Mayor’s Silent Ceremony (November 8, 2019)
The Lord Mayor is elected at Common Hall each year on Michaelmas, and takes office on the Friday before the second Saturday in November at the Silent Ceremony. Every year the new Lord Mayor is sworn into office at Guildhall. The ceremony is known as the “Silent Ceremony” because, aside from a short declaration by the incoming Lord Mayor, no speeches are made.
Below is a picture of William being sworn in at the traditional Silent Ceremony.
During the ceremony the new Lord Mayor is ushered in with the presence of his predecessor. Below is William just after the ceremony ended, pictured with former Lord Mayor Peter Estlin, who served from 2018-2019.
How fabulous was it that all four siblings were present at William’s Silent Ceremony, taking a rare public photo together as a group to commemorate his achievement! That’s a nice looking bunch there! How is it that the youngest sibling is the tallest? You go Gareth!
And how about this brother-in-law / sister-in-law rare public photo, eh!?!? Both Helen and William’s wife Lady Mayoress Hilary were pictured with Damian and William at the ceremony.
Outside after the service Damian admired the mace which was presented to his brother William during the Silent Ceremony.
More photos of the Lord Mayor’s Silent Ceremony can be viewed in our Gallery here
The Lord Mayor’s Show (November 9, 2019)
The Lord Mayor’s Show is one of the best-known annual events in London as well as one of the longest-established, dating back to the 16th century. In fact, the parade is 804 years old! A new Lord Mayor is appointed every year and the public parade that takes place at his or her inauguration ceremony reflects that this was once one of the most prominent offices in England, so much so, that it is a fixture of London life.
This street parade, in its modern form, is a light-hearted combination of traditional British pageantry with a dash of imperial spectacle and elements of medieval carnival. On the day after being sworn in, the Lord Mayor and several others participate in a procession from Guildhall, via Mansion House and St Paul’s Cathedral, in the heart of the City of London, traveling by stage coach to the Royal Courts of Justice on the edge of the City of Westminster at the Strand, where he/she swears allegiance to the sovereign Crown before the Justices of the High Court.
Helen, Damian, and Lady Mayoress Hilary look on from the crowd:
Once William made his way to the grandstands, he and family waved to the crowd.
Backstage at the parade, either before or after, brothers Damian and William had time to take photographs with service men and women.
Hats off to William!
More photos of the Lord Mayor’s Show can be viewed in our Gallery here
Lord Mayor’s Appeal – Voices of London (November 26, 2019)
William is very active in social and charitable causes and has a particular dedication to prison and educational charities. He sees great hope in the convening power of the Lord Mayor’s office, which he will use to bring people together to create new possibilities for London. Speaking after his election he said,
First up on his agenda was to raise awareness and support charities that invest in youth services and children’s mental health.
The Lord Mayor’s Appeal hosted their first ever poetry night called Voices of London on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Lucky attendees joined the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress for a night of inspirational poetry in the magnificent setting of the Mansion House in London. The evening of poetry was inspired by the great city of London and curated by Allie Esiri, Helen McCrory, and Kate Birch. Poetry readers were Allie, Helen, Damian, Mona Arishi, Theresa Lola, Yomi Sode and OnSide young poets.
Voices of London in support of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal was an effort to raise money to help support the charity partners OnSide Youth Zones, Place2Be, Samaritans Helpline, and Sir Hubert von Herkomer Arts Foundation. Both Damian and Helen serve as patron and ambassador for SirHvHArts.
William opened the evening as attendees enjoyed champagne, a canapé reception, poetry readings and a fundraising raffle.
Damian, Helen and Allie Esiri read London inspired poetry on stage throughout the evening.
They make a great team!
To hear Damian recite Winnie the Pooh and other nursery rhymes was something I had no idea I needed! Then when Damian and Helen have a competitive poetry read, in synch, feeding off each other….I die. A huge thank you to our London correspondent Tsvetanka for recording the event. Here are just a couple of videos of Damian, Helen and Allie reciting poetry. You can view all nine videos at our sister site here.
To top the evening off, a group photo was taken featuring Damian with his brother William, Allie Esiri and Helen kneeling in front, Yomi Sode directly behind Allie and Helen, and young people from OnSide Youth Zone.
And here is Damian pictured with Theresa Lola who read her own poetry at the event that evening:
More photos of the Voices of London event can be viewed in our Gallery here