The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch 2021

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

(1st February - 29th April)

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:

2020 Sponsors:

Major Sponsor

British American Tobacco 

Associate Sponsor

AdvantageGo 

Supporting Sponsors

Ascot Underwriting

Kerry Foods

Rathbone Investment Management 

Commonwealth Access Partners

Hoares Trustees

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

Vice Patrons

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

Committee Members 

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 Bilimoria

Lady Bradshaw

Lady Catherine Carleton-Smith

Lady Carter

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

Lady Everard

Mr Richard Fox

Mr Christopher Freeman

Mrs Susie Freeman

Lady French

Alderman John Garbutt

Mr Sean Gavin

Mrs Clare Ghika

Baroness Goldie

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

Lady Houghton

Alderman Robert Howard

Lord Howard of Rising

Alderman Robert Hughes-Penney

The Very Reverend Dr David Ison

Lady Jackson

Mrs Denise Jones

Alderman Gregory Jones

Alderman Vincent Keaveny

Lady Kent-Noon

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