Monday, 3 May 2010

A "Curry Lunch virgin" at large Thursday 29th April 2010

The Lord Mayor organises a HUGE curry lunch each year in support of the Army Benevolent Fund, one of the key military charities. Alderman (and Past Master) Paul Judge is on the organising committee and the Marketors contribute to the charity, so we are able to get tickets for the event.

It was the first time I had attended and it's quite an occasion: mass organisation and catering in the hands of various army, territorial and university officer training units, with guns (machine guns, small artillery) dotted around Guildhall Yard and abundant different uniforms from combat gear to full fig with medals. The bottom picture shows the collection of hats, belts and sticks in the Guildhall cloakroom, each one with its ticket pinned to it as if they were in a raffle.

It was a timely chance to meet more Livery Masters while we were awaiting the arrival of the Prince of Wales (yes, he did shake hands with all of us and pause for a few words). I am now just over 3 months into my year; there are a few newly-installed Masters arriving on the circuit so I'm no longer the new-girl. (And there are about half a dozen female Masters this year.)

We plunged into the melee which is the Great Hall, lined with tables serving curries, drinks and soldiers taking £20 notes off us for the raffles and much larger bids for an auction of promises for unique experiences. I had a go for a behind the scenes visit to the Royal Mews and a sky dive (must be mad). There was limited space at tables for eating but I am glad that they found a slot for an old soldier - my father, who was attending too and thoroughly enjoying himself.

Let's hope they made a lot of money to support the men and women who give more than most of us ever have to contemplate in the service of us, the citizenry.

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