There are two main parts to the role of Lord Dean of Guild - firstly to chair the Board of Directors of the Merchants House and ensure the smooth running of the organisation, and secondly to fulfil the role of second citizen of Glasgow.

Few would have believed a year ago that the House could continue to operate the way it has if we could not hold physical meetings. While our General Manager Paul Martin and Events Manager Nancy Braid do a fantastic job dealing with the day-to-day issues, all of the strategic work is done at committee level, with all the Directors meeting quarterly to discuss key topics. The House has a number of sub-committees, but critical planning and oversight is carried out by our Finance, Grants, Beneficiaries, Membership and Marketing, and Property Committees. Until last year all meetings were held in the House but, with lockdown, we very quickly moved to virtual meetings and these have worked better than most of us would have imagined, allowing us to deal with a range of issues but importantly ensure that we continue to carry out all of our charitable work.

The second part of the role has become more difficult to fulfil in lockdown. The Lord Dean sits ex-officio on a number of trusts and charities and I have been able to attend all the virtual meetings (including those of Glasgow City Council). A key part of the role is to support the Lord Provost and Bailies in the excellent work they do promoting the city and recognising the work done by some of the city’s citizens and charitable organisations. In the period from my election in May 2019 to lockdown last March I attended approximately 160 events - these included civic receptions where for example international conferences were being held in Glasgow, ceremonies such as that for the Blood Transfusion Awards, international sporting events held in the city, significant religious and remembrance events, and even representing Glasgow at a weekend at one of our twin cities, Nuremberg. Since lockdown, almost all of these events have stopped but in due course the Lord Dean will again be able to carry out such duties and assist the Lord Provost and Bailies in the great work they do for Glasgow.