The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch 2021

The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch is always a very popular event. Following this year’s cancellation, Co-Chairman Michael Hockney has revealed plans for 2021.



An update from the Co-Chairman, Michael Hockney

In the article I wrote for the May edition of the Livery Newsletter, I gave you the good news that, in spite of the 2020 Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch not taking place, we were still able to contribute sufficient funds to support eighteen veterans through the Pain Management Programme (PMP) at the King Edward VII Hospital’s Centre for Veterans’ Health. That was down to the generosity of our sponsors and supporters, including over forty Livery Companies. With only one exception, a recent business start-up, the uniform response was ‘keep our donation for such a worthy cause’.

At that time, I also mentioned that money was still coming in, principally from paying guests at the 2020 Lunch, who had generously decided to turn the cost of their tickets into a donation and then Gift Aid it.

All the money is now in and the result is quite wonderful. We have, net of very modest expenses, raised £167,000. Thank you all. As a result, in addition to the eighteen veterans whose lives – and those of their families – will be transformed by the PMP, we will be funding other veterans to help them prepare for and find employment.

Since May, I have been liaising with the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress and with the Remembrancer, looking at the options that might be open to us for the 2021 LMBCL. Working closely with the staff team at ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, we have developed three options, which, we hope will leave us prepared for whatever the situation is in the first four months of 2021.

Option 1:

’Business as usual’ – lunch for 1,500 guests and 300 volunteers in Guildhall on Thursday 29th April 2021

Option 2:

Three scaled-down, separate lunches in Guildhall Great Hall and as many other activities as possible in Guildhall Yard under canvas on 29th April 2021

Option 3:

No indoor gathering on the day in Guildhall.

Instead three months of activities, virtual and in real-time, beginning on 1st February 2021, including an On-Line Auction, celebrity chef Indian cookery lessons on Zoom, a Cocktails Master Class on Zoom, smaller Curry Lunches all over the City and City businesses putting on their own fundraising activities.

On the day, subject to the rules and restrictions in operation at the time, we would hope to put up marquees in Guildhall Yard, selling take-away curries and Livery merchandise, with authors signing their books and live music.

As time has gone on since we first started considering these options and Covid-19 has remained with us, the third option seems to be the most likely outcome.

So, at the first meeting of the 2020-2021 Committee in September, we spent much of the time expanding on Option 3. Lots of great ideas came up. They are being pursued at the moment, with a view to having them firmed up by the end of November 2020.

Images from 2008 to 2019 LMBCLs

What is without a shadow of doubt is that:


It will be very different to any previous LMBCL in that it will last from 1st February until 29th April 2021 and not just take place over three hours. It will have a different content in part, tailored to the restrictions forced upon us by Covid-19, but we hope it will also retain as many as possible of the popular activities of the first twelve LMBCLs at Guildhall.

What is also not in doubt is:


Many parts of British society are suffering in the arena of employment. Jobs are being lost and are harder to come by and that impacts on veterans, who are having a tougher time than they were before the Pandemic hit us.
The 2021 Lunch will be playing its part in helping veterans into the world of civilian work, aligning the LMBCL with the Mayoral and Civic strategy of the City of London, ‘A Better City For All’, as a place of leading-edge employment practice.

In particular, for the third successive year, the LMBCL will be focussing on funding up to eighteen veterans through the King Edward VII Hospital’s Pain Management Programme. These veterans suffer from chronic debilitating pain, whether physical or psychological or both, which inhibits their ability to lead what we would all call a normal life. That pain has a massive impact on their ability to get and hold down a job.

The PMP has been shown to achieve life-changing results, transforming the well-being of veterans and their families. The cost of the six-month programme for a veteran is £6,500. It is a quite a sum for a veteran to find. With your help, we can transform the lives of eighteen veterans and their families at a total cost of £117,000.

If we raise more than this, we can also support other veterans in a host of other employment-related initiatives delivered by the three national service charities.

In 2020, the response from the Livery was remarkable, including several Livery Companies, as well as City businesses, funding one or more veterans through the PMP. The LMBCL Committee hopes that more Livery Companies than ever before will take part in the 2021 ‘Lunch’ and that this specific and measurable way of supporting the Lunch and the veterans of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces will increase in 2021.

You can find our more about the plans for the 2021 ‘Lunch’ as they emerge on the new LMBCL website. The new website also provides a comprehensive history of the Lunch, including a library of photographic images for each of the annual Lunches. Please go to to find out more. The website will be updated regularly as the plans for February to April 2021 firm up.

To finish this update, a challenge for the Livery.

The Lord Mayor has set a target for the 2021 Lunch of contributing £180,000 to support veterans of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces

With six months to go, I’d really like to hear your ideas as to what your Company can do to make sure we reach and exceed this target. Support us in a variety of ways as you have done in the past. But also come up with new ideas. I’d love to hear them, particularly those that won’t be put in jeopardy by the possible restrictions in our lives between February and April next year.

Thank you for helping us contribute over £2.3 million since 2008 to the care of our nation’s veterans and their families.

Let’s work together to make the 2021 ‘Lunch’ a hugely-successful extravaganza of events, activities, good fellowship and good fun to be remembered for many years to come as a fine example of the City of London at its responsive and philanthropic best.

In the next issue of the Livery Newsletter, I hope to summarise the detailed plans for the 2021 ‘Lord Mayor’s Big Curry ‘Lunch’.

With best regards and keep well.

Yours ever,

Michael Hockney

Court Assistant, The Musicians Livery Company
Co-Chairman, The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch

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