The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch 2021

Not just a Lunch - but three months of fundraising for veterans

(1st February - 29th April)

General FAQs

Who attends the lunch?

Every year guests include senior leaders from the City’s business and professional communities, members of Livery Companies and Ward Clubs; senior officers of the British Army and the other services and members of both Houses of Parliament.

What is the history of the lunch?

The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch (LMBCL) first took place in April 2008, hosted by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress at Guildhall, the centre of the City of London’s Governance, ceremonial and philanthropy. It was a Civic and Guildhall event, but with several differences. A fixed price gave access to unlimited curries and accompanying drinks, there would be no seating plan, everyone would serve themselves – and go back for seconds – and everyone would sit on benches!

From the outset, the Lunch had several purposes. First to raise funds to support soldiers and former soldiers, both regular and reservists, who had served in Iraq and, subsequently, in Afghanistan and their families. Secondly, to raise awareness in the City community of the role of the Armed Forces of the Crown. Third, to build awareness of the national charity that works ceaselessly to support soldiers and former soldiers and their families – ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. Finally, to emphasise to City workers, the breadth and depth of the City’s philanthropy to those in society who need help and support.

The first Lunch in 2008 attracted 700 guests and was held in a marquee in Guildhall Yard as the Guildhall kitchens were out of action at the time. Following its success, the attendance grew year on year and by 2016 the Lunch had grown to the extent that we now use all the principal rooms in Guildhall. Over the last twelve years the Lunches have contributed a total of over £2.1million to help those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

From 2018 onwards, The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch has supported all members of the Armed Forces who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families; through the British Army’s National Charity, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and in association with The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.

Additionally, for the 2019 – 2021 Lunches, The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch will link with the Civic and Mayoral theme of employment and employability and provide financial support for veterans to take part in the Pain Management Programme at King Edward VII Hospital’s Centre for Veterans’ Health. For more information visit Support Page

Who is the Royal Guest of Honour?

Due to high security measures, the Royal Guest of Honour is announced only a few days before the Lunch. Previous Royal Guests have included HRH Prince of Wales, HRH The Duke of Sussex and HRH The Princess Royal

Who does the Lunch support?

The Lunch supports all members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, through the three National Service Charities – ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.

Specifically, part of the money raised from the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Lunches will provide financial support for veterans to take part in a programme designed to help prepare them for employment. King Edward VII Hospital’s Centre for Veterans’ Health has developed – and tested – a six-month-long Pain Management Programme specifically for veterans. The Lunch will fund up to 18 veterans on this programme each year from 2019 – 2021, as part of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity grant-giving. This project will also align the Lunch with the Civic and Mayoral theme of employment and employability. It will cost up to £120,000 each year (£6,500 per veteran), which will still leave us with a significant sum to fund other programmes that support employment and employability and the wider work of the three National Service Charities.

You can find out more about the Pain Management Programme here.

What is The Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch Committee?

A 100-strong volunteer committee help to organise all aspects of the Lunch and is chaired by Mr Michael Hockney and the Lord Mayor. They meet on five separate occasions and are instrumental in securing prizes for the auction and draw, selling tickets and corporate packages, and sourcing sponsorship. The Committee is made up of a range of individuals from a variety of backgrounds including leading business people from the City – senior accountants, bankers, investment managers, lawyers, the chairmen of financial and professional institutions – and senior military figures.

Who is on the Committee?

The full 2020 Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch Committee List can be found here.

What is a Silent Auction?

Silent auctions are auctions held without an auctioneer. Guests place their bids on electronic tablets at the Lunch.

Who is the Lord Mayor of the City of London?

The Lord Mayor of London is the City's mayor and the leader of the City of London Corporation. One of the world’s oldest continuously elected civic offices, it is entirely separate from the directly-elected Mayor of London.

What is a Livery Company and how do they support the Lunch?

The Livery Companies of the City of London, currently 110 in number, comprise London's ancient and modern trade associations and guilds. The Lunch is supported by over 50 of the Livery Companies in the City of London. You can see which Livery Companies support the Lunch here.

They all support the Lunch through many different channels. These include: 

  1. Making a £6,500 contribution to fund a veteran through the PMP, either idividually or in partnership with another Livery Company 
  2. Making a donation of any amount
  3. Putting on an event in support of the LMBCL
  4. Advertising the Lunch events and activities to their members
  5. Running a Livery Company selling stall on the day of the Lunch

Are there any other events linked with The Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch?

Yes, there are multiple supporting events for the Lunch. These include:

  • The Lord Mayor's Launch Reception: Each annual Lunch is launched by the Lord Mayor in November. The reception is attended by the Civic and Mayoral Party, the LMBCL Committee, sponsors, supporters and Livery Masters and Clerks. During the evening the Lord Mayor makes a speech outlining the aims and objectives for the Lunch that year.
    • To read the Co-Chairman and Founder, Mr Michael Hockney's, speech at the 2020 LMBCL Launch please click here.
  • The Garden Launch: Every March there is a launch for the opening of the Commemorative Garden in Guildhall Yard. The Garden is designed (and maintained) by the Worshipful Company of Gardeners and remains in place until the evening of The Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch. The Lord Mayor, a Royal Guest of Honour, celebrity gardeners and Masters and Clerks from the Livery Companies and Ward Clubs in the City are usually in attendance.
  • The Lord Mayor's Thank You Party: Each annual Lunch holds a Thank You Reception in May, to thank all those involved on the day. The Lord Mayor announces the final result of the Lunch that year and publically thanks key sponsors and supporters.
  • Other Satellite Events: Committee Members and Livery Companies sometimes hold their own events in support of the LMBCL and any funds raised goes towards the final total. To hear about what Satellite Events are on throughout the year, please get in touch with Polly Roberts on lmbc@soldierscharity.org.