At a reception in the City of London Club on Wednesday 29th November 2023, the Lord Mayor launched the Big Curry Lunch 2024.
The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli’s speach can be seen below.
Michael, Major General, Fellow Aldermen, Ladies and Gentlemen…
Good evening to you all!
Thank you very much, Michael, for your introduction and your fantastic organisation as ever, and my sincere thanks, too, to the City of London Club for hosting us here today.
On behalf of the Lady Mayoress and me, may I first congratulate our predecessors, the 694th Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, Nick and Felicity Lyons, as well as everyone involved in this year’s lunch for raising the record sum of £437,000 – a truly remarkable figure.
Since 2008, the Big Curry Lunch has raised nearly £3 million for the three national service charities – The Army Benevolent Fund, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, supporting our veterans throughout their lives.
And next year, we’re hoping to go even further still, with our biggest target to date of £450,000!
If that wasn’t enough – being the ambitious bunch that we are – we’ve set ourselves a few more targets over the coming year, specifically, for two other charities we’re supporting – both of which are focused on getting veterans back into employment.
First, King Edward VII Hospital’s Centre for Veterans’ Health, whose Pain Management Programme seeks to address the physical and psychological pain barriers that prevent veterans from leading a full life.
It costs £6,500 to fund the programme for one veteran, and with your help, we’re hoping to support 16 individuals through it.
And second, the superb charity, Lifeworks, which offers practical advice, guidance, and support to help veterans and their families secure employment, as well as education and training opportunities.
This year alone, we hope to fund 65 veterans through the programme.
None of this is possible without a great deal of support, on which note, I am delighted to say that Azad Ayub and his wife, Regina, are with us here this evening.
Azad has not only agreed to be the principal sponsor of this year’s Lunch and Lunch Programme, but also those in 2025 and 2026 too.
Azad, we’re enormously grateful for your support. Thank you.
And while we’re on the “thank yous”, I have a few more to give.
First, to our other sponsors and donors who have already signed up for 2024.
- City Bids
- Barnett Waddingham
- Sir Trevor Chinn
- Chris Seow and Reflections of the Lord Mayor
- The Golden Bottle Trust
- And so far, 22 livery companies, although I am hopeful we will see that number rise and surpass the 64 involved in the last Big Curry Lunch.
I am also delighted to say that our loyal in-kind supporters will once again be with us next year, with Noon Foods supplying their delicious curries…
…Private Cellar, their wines…
…Pol Roger, in their 175th year, the champagne…
…and, of course, Cobra beer – ensuring there’s adequate refreshment for all!
Thank you also to everyone who is supplying and supporting the Lunch, including Susannah Lovis, who is giving a pair of gold and diamond earrings – a prize to be won by a lucky purchaser of a glass of champagne…
…Paul Pinchbeck, who has kindly donated a Pinchbeck watch – to be claimed by someone buying one of the Lord Mayor’s or Lady Mayoress’ cocktails – which I can assure you, really will be fantastic…
…and to Paul Roger, for giving us a very generous number of exquisite bottles of champagne to sell on the day.
So ladies and gentlemen, as you can see, we’ve got off to a great start, but there’s still a long way to go.
Please consider what you can do to support this fantastic cause, from sponsoring a veteran, making a donation, running a stall,
providing prizes for the silent auction, running a satellite event in the UK, or indeed overseas, and sending us the proceeds, or, of course, coming to the Lunch itself.
Collectively, let’s dig deep and give generously.
I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the main event on 18th April.
Thank you for your support this evening, and together, let’s make this the biggest and most successful Lord Mayor’s Curry Lunch yet! Thank you.