On Thursday 11th May, the Co-Chairman and founder of the Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch reported on the success of the event and how a record sum was raised.
Michael Hockney said,
“The Lord Mayor and I were a little disappointed that there was one ticket left unsold for the Lunch this year! The good news was that we had 1,649 guests at the Lunch. A record in the history of the Lunch since its inception.
What a noisy, buzzy, happy occasion it was, enthusiastically supported by nearly 200 volunteers ably led by the team from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
The atmosphere was terrific. The Livery stalls were heaped with good things and they almost sold out. This year’s authors were kept busy signing their latest books; they pretty much sold out too.
The Champagne Bars did a roaring trade as everyone tucked into delicious Pol Roger (another sell out) and hoped to win Susannah Lovis’s fabulous diamond and gold pendant.
Similarly the Cocktails Bars, where two far-too-easy to drink cocktails, designed by the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress and mixed by the expert team from the Coq d’Argent Restaurant, offered a chance to win a Pinchbeck bespoke British-made watch. We sold more cocktails than ever before.
Then into Lunch with an array of delicious curries from Noon Foods, backed by specially-selected wines from Private Cellar and lots of that smooth Cobra beer.
Guests were entertained with xcellent music from the Band of the Household Cavalry and from three young musicians who were prizewinners of the Musicians Company.
How pleased we were to have Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester with us. They spent time talking with veterans and their families that we have supported. Their Royal Highnesses really enjoyed the occasion and went home with some lovely gifts from the Livery Company stalls. A very nice gesture.
As I looked round the Old Ballroom at the Mansion House on the evening of 11th May, I saw the faces of everyone who has helped ensure that the 2023 Lunch was such a good occasion. They included our sponsors and supporters at all levels; more generous in total than ever before, including more than sixty Livery Companies, many of whom have funded veterans through the two employment-related programmes we are supporting for veterans. Thanks go to:
- Our sponsors. Particular thanks to our principal sponsor, Phoenix for their third year with us and to our other commercial and private sponsors – Ascot, City Bids, Azad Ayub, AdvantageGo, Evelyn Partners, The Officers Association, Barnett Waddingham, Sir Trevor Chinn, JP Morgan and reflections of the Lord Mayor,
- our media partners – City AM, Country Life and The Spectator,
- members of the Corporation of the City of London, who are to be thanked for allowing us to use Guildhall without any charge,
- our Committee,
- The Gardeners Livery Company that designed and planted the beautiful veterans garden in Guildhall Yard in February, ably supported with the heavy lifting by the Guild of Young Freemen,
- the prize givers, including many Livery Companies, who donated an amazing array of seventy prizes for the On Line & Silent Auction and for the Draw. This year a new record was set for the highest sum ever raised by the Auction, and
- The Remembrancer’s team from Guildhall, the Mansion House team, the team from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and the volunteers who did such an efficient job.
The Lord Mayor and I are very grateful to you all.
At the Lunch, I think we saw the City at its best – its generosity, the coming together of the business and professional community united behind a really worthy cause, the Livery Companies showing both their traditional skills and their support for charitable causes. And what better cause than to help veterans, after a career of service to our country, prepare for as resilient and secure life as possible in the civilian world, through the Pain Management Programme at the King Edward VII Hospital and the programmes run by LifeWorks. Both focus on helping veterans prepare for employment and both being transformational for the veterans and for their families.
The Lord Mayor then took to the dais in the Old Library.
He reminded everyone of the target he set back on November 2022: £325,000. If we had raised that sum, we would have improved on the 2022 result, itself a record.
The Lord Mayor then announced we had beaten the target and raised the record sum of £435,000.
This means that since 2008 the LMBCL Committee has handed over nearly £3.3 million to the three national single service charities to support our nation’s veterans and their families.
What a fantastic result. Our thanks to every Livery Company that took part.
Of course, the funds we raise are so important, but so too is building an understanding of what the Armed Forces of the Crown are called upon to do and how we can all support those members of the veteran community and their families who need our help.
My final task is to thank the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress for their support for the Committee and for our cause. Also our thanks to the Sheriffs and their Consorts, to Alastair and Corinne and to Andrew and Marion.”
The date of the 2024 Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch is Thursday 18th April 2024