Created in 2007 and first taking place in 2008, The Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch is the City of London's hottest annual event.
Be part of an incredible series of events that raise money to help those who have served in Her Majesty's Armed Forces, in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch is now in its fourteenth year. Unlike any previous year a major set of obstacles has to be overcome, in the shape of Covid-19 and social distancing. The first twelve Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunches did not take place in a 'Covid world', so we are working on finding ways to overcome the challenges we now face holding by providing a series of activities and events.
Rather than focusing solely on one lunch on one day, The Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch 2021 is now a series of events spanning three months to raise funds and awareness and, with your help, we plan to fund veterans during this trying time.
We are in the third year of our commitment to supporting the Pain Management Programme run by the Centre for Veterans’ Health at the King Edward VII Hospital and with your support aim to fund eighteen veterans on the Programme.
It was with great sadness that in March 2020, the Co-Chairmen, the Rt Hon The Lord Mayor Alderman Willam Russell and Mr Michael Hockney, in consultation with the Remembrancer, made the disappointing but necessary decision to cancel the 2020 Lunch.
At that time, it was looking as if the 2020 Lunch might exceed the record sum raised at the 2019 Lunch. As a result of this, the Committee was quietly confident that we might well exceed the 2019 record sum of £250,000 to hand over to the three national service charities for onward distribution to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and their families.
Despite the unfortunate turn of events as the Covid-19 virus struck the UK and we were forced to cancel the 2020 Lunch. We are truly grateful to the generosity of our 2020 Sponsors and the Livery Companies and Ward Clubs, which has meant the Co-Chairmen were able to announce that we had sufficient funds to be able to commit to funding up to eighteen veterans on the PMP. This was one of our principal ambitions for the 2020 LMBCL. That’s eighteen veterans who will now be able to go on the PMP in the coming months; the impact on them and on their families will be truly transformational.
We are truly grateful to the generoity of our 2020 Sponsors and The Livery Companies and Ward Clubs, who supported the Lunch regardless of its cancellation. Please see below the names of these companies and individuals:
British American Tobacco
Rathbone Investment Management
Commonwealth Access Partners
The Golden Bottle Trust
Major Private Donor
Sir Trevor Chinn
Livery Company and Ward Club Supporters:
The Worshipful Company of Actuaries
The Worshipful Company of Air Pilots
Aldersgate Ward Club
The Worshipful Company of Art Scholars
The Worshipful Company of Bakers
The Worshipful Company of Barbers
The Worshipful Company of Blacksmith
The Worshipful Company of Bowyers
Bread Street Ward Club
The Worshipful Company of Brewers
The Worshipful Company of Broderers
The Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants
The Worshipful Company of Carpenters
The Worshipful Company of Chartered Accountants
The City Livery Club
The Worshipful Company of Clothworkers
The Worshipful Company of Cooks
Coleman Street Ward Club
The Worshipful Company of Curriers
The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers
The Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters
The Worshipful Company of Fruiters
The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths
The Worshipful Company of Grocers
Livery Company and Ward Club Supporters:
Guild of Freemen of the City of London
The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers
The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists
The Worshipful Company of International Bankers
The Worshipful Company of Leathersellers
The Worshipful Company of Mercers
The Worshipful Company of Musicians
The Worshipful Company of Paviors
The Worshipful Company of Plaisterers
The Royal Society of St George
The Worshipful Company of Saddlers
The Worshipful Company of Salters
The Worshipful Company of Security Professionals
The Worshipful Company of Tax Advisors
The Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers
The Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers
The Worshipful Company of Turners
The Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers
The Worshipful Company of Vinters
The Worshipful Company of Water Conservators
The Worshipful Company of Watermen and Lightermen
The Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights
The Worshipful Company of Woolmen
The Worshipful Company of World Traders
Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19 The Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch had a format that was well known and loved by the guests who attended the Lunch. Pre-Covid, a Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch would host a relaxed lunch for up to 1,500 guests at the historic Guildhall in the heart of London. The purpose, other than raising money for veterans of HM Armed Forces, was to allow people from all walks of city life to mingle and meet serving members of the Armed Forces while enjoying a host of activties and amusements. For more information on what the Lunch was like please see below:
The Lunch opens - 12.00pm onwards
Sponsor and Ticket Package guests arrive at Guildhall through the private entrance in Basinghall Street.
Drinks are available in the reception area in the Livery Hall, where a complimentary glass of champagne is served. Drinks are also available from the free bars, serving beer, wine and soft drinks.
For indvidual guests and smaller groups, enter Guildhall through the Art Gallery entrance and make their way to the Old Library for drinks, either at there free bars or from the Champagne and Cocktails bars.
There are many activities at the Lunch where guests can:
- bid in the Silent Auction
- take part in the Prize Draw
- visit the ‘Diamond and Champagne’ and ‘Watch and Cocktail’ bars for the chance to win a diamond necklace or a British handmade bespoke watch
Lunch (three sittings) - Lunch takes place for all guests in the Great Hall and food is served buffet-style; seating is unreserved, so guests can meet and network with others
12.30pm First Lunch sitting begins
1.15pm Second Lunch sitting begins
2.00pm Third Lunch sitting begins
Post-Lunch Once guests finish lunch in the Great Hall they are welcome to explore all the special extras offered throughout Guildhall. These include:
- In the South Ambulatory, there are Livery Stalls held by the Worshipful Companies of Bakers, Frameworker Knitters, Fruiterers, Gardeners, Leatherseller's, Pewterers and Turners, selling a range of items, including knitwear and fresh fruit. Also the three Charity's merchandise stalls and well known authors signing their books
- Coffee and chocolates are available for all guests in the Print Room. The free bars in the Livery Hall and Old Library reception areas remain open for all guests
- Continue bidding in the Silent Auction
- Take part in the Prize Draw
- Re-visit the ‘Diamond and Champagne’ or ‘Watch and Cocktail’ bar for the chance to win a diamond necklace or a British handmade bespoke watch
- Enjoy the commemorative garden in Guildhall Yard, designed by the Worshipful Company of Gardeners
- A take-home bag is offered to all departing guests
- The In-Pensioners of the Royal Hospital Chelsea also collect donations at each exit to Guildhall
2.45pm Prizes are drawn in the Old Library for the ‘Diamond and Champagne’ and ‘Watch and Cocktail’ bar raffles by the Lady Mayoress
3.00pm The Lunch closes
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 would be a Civic and Guildhall event but with a difference; a fixed price allowing guest unlimited curries and accompanying drinks, no seating plan, and everyone would serve themselves – and go back for seconds as often as they wished – and everyone would sit on benches.
The Lunch has had the unstinting support of each Lord Mayor since 2008.
From the outset, the Lunch had a number of purposes.
- To raise funds to support Soldiers and former Soldiers, both Regulars and Reservists, who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families.
- To raise awareness in the City community of the role of the Armed Forces of the Crown. Particularly among a younger generation of City folk.
- To build awareness of the three national service charities that works ceaselessly to support all members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces
- To emphasise to City workers the breadth and depth of the City’s philanthropy in support of those in society who need help in a variety of ways.
The first Lunch in 2008 attracted 700 guests and raised £143,000. Following its success, the attendance grew year on year to the extent that we use all the principal rooms in Guildhall, generously provided by the Corporation of the City of London without any charge. As of May 2020 we have contributed a total of over £2.3 million to help support all members of the Armed Forces who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
From 2019 onwards - for three years - The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch has aligned with the employment and employability strand of the Civic and Mayoral strategy ‘A Better City For All’, by providing financial support for veterans to take part in the Pain Management Programme at King Edward VII Hospital’s Centre for Veterans’ Health.
For futher information on the history of the Lunch, please take a look at our brochure here
The Lord Mayor and the founder co-chair the LMBCL volunteer Committee.
The Committee meets five times a year and includes:
The wives of senior generals, retired senior officers, government ministers, leading clergy, Aldermen and Sheriffs of the City of London, the Chief Commoner, more than a dozen Livery Masters, Livery Clerks, business and professional leaders in the City and members of the London Lieutenancy, including the Lord Lieutenant and Vice Lord Lieutenant.
The Committee owes a huge debt of gratitude to the Corporation for allowing the Lunch to take place from 2019 onwards without any charges being made, thus helping the Committee to contribute a larger sum each year to support members of the Armed Forces of the Crown and their families in so many different ways.
Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch Co-Chairmen
The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor Alderman William Russell
Mr Michael Hockney
Sir David Lewis
Alderman Nick Anstee
Sir Michael Bear
Alderman Sir David Wootton
Alderman Sir Roger Gifford
Alderman Dame Fiona Woolf
Alderman Sir Alan Yarrow
Alderman the Lord Mountevans
Alderman Sir Andrew Parmley
Alderman Sir Charles Bowman
Alderman Sir Peter Estlin
The Lady Mayoress Mrs Hilary Russell
Alderman and Sheriff Professor Michael Mainelli
Sheriff Christopher Hayward
Mr Doug Adam
Mrs Fiona Adler
Mr Jeremy Archer
Dr Heather Barret-Mold
Mr Adrian Bastow
Brigadier Greville Bibby
Lady Catherine Carleton-Smith
Field Marshal Sir John Chapple
Sir Trevor Chinn
Mr Peter Cooper
Sir Michael Craig-Cooper
Mr Christopher Davey
Colonel Jane Davis
Mr Vladislav Dobrokhotov
Alderman Emma Edham
Mr Richard Fox
Mr Christopher Freeman
Mrs Susie Freeman
Alderman John Garbutt
Mr Sean Gavin
Mrs Clare Ghika
Mr Andrew Gordon
Alderman Alison Gowman
Alderman Prem Goyal
Alderman David Graves
The Hon. Elizabeth Green
Brigadier Tim Gregson
Mr Ian Grundy
Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie
Alderman Timothy Hailes
Mr James Heappy MP
Mr Paul Herbage
Mr Stan Hodges
Alderman Robert Howard
Lord Howard of Rising
Alderman Robert Hughes-Penney
The Very Reverend Dr David Ison
Mrs Denise Jones
Alderman Gregory Jones
Alderman Vincent Keaveny
Mr Vaughan Kent-Payne
Alderman Alistair King
Miss Mei-Sim Lai
Alderman Susan Langley
Mrs Susannah Lovis
Alderman Nicholas Lyons
Mr Hugh MacDougald
Mr Simon Martin
Alderman Bronek Masojada
Mr Johnny Mercer MP
Mr Brian Mooney
The Right Reverend & Rt Hon. Dame Sarah Elisabeth Mullally
Mr John Nichols
Sir Kenneth Olisa
Mr Tim Orchard
Mr Denis Petropoulos
Mr Jeremy Quin MP
Mr Michael Bradly-Russell
Mrs Victoria Russell
The Rt Hon the Baroness Patrica Scotland of Asthal
Ms Annie Shepperd
Mr David Simmons
Mr Nicholas Somers
Mrs Laura Taylor
Mr Cyrus Todiwala
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Vernon
Mr Adrian Waddingham
The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP