We are monitoring the ongoing situation regarding Covid-19 and will continue to follow all guidelines issued. by HM Government and the Corporation of the City of London. We will have a full Covid-19 plan in place as necessary. The safety of our guests, staff and volunteers will always be our number one priority. If in the unfortunate circumstance that the Curry Lunch has to be cancelled a full refund will be offered to all tickets buyers. We wish you all good health at this difficult time.
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; the senior officers of all three of HM Armed Forces 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 14 years, the Lunches have contributed a total of over £2.5million 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 – 2022 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 The Prince of Wales, HRH The Princess Royal, HRH The Duke of Sussex, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, HRH The Duke of Kent and HRH Princess Eugenie.
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.
For 2022, the Lunch will continue provide financial support for veterans to take part in a programme designed to help prepare them for employment. The purpose of the PMP at the King Edward VII Hospital's Centre for Veterans’ Health is to address the individual issues, both physical and psychological, involving pain that prevents a veteran from leading a full life. Chronic pain is the most significant barrier to a veteran being able to find and sustain meaningful employment, which is the ‘backbone’ of their future wellbeing and impacts every other aspect of their personal lives and their families. It costs £6,500 to fund the PMP for one veteran. For 2022 we hope to fund up to 15 veterans waiting to go through the programme.
You can find out more about the Pain Management Programme here.
Also starting in 2022, the Lunch is supporting another programme for the next three years; Lifeworks. Lifeworks’ sole focus is to find employment, education and training for veterans from all the Services and their families. It offers practical advice, guidance and support regardless of the length of service and is available nationwide, wherever veterans live. The Lifeworks team is made up of highly experienced career coaches and vocational assessors, helping veterans decide on career and training opportunities and develop skills to job search and write a cv. Each course costs £1,500 but is always free of charge to the veterans taking part. Through the 2022 Lunch, we hope to fund 65 veterans through a Lifeworks course.
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 figure both Houses of Parliament, the serving and retired military community, the Church, the Court of Alderman and other senior members of the Corporation.
What is a Silent Auction?
Silent auctions are auctions held without an auctioneer. The Silent Auction is also online prior to the Lunch itself. Every year the silent auction lauches online at the beginining of February and then continues as a live auction on the day of 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 Mayor of London. The present Lord Mayor is Alderman Vincent Keaveny
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:
- Making a £6,500 contribution to fund a veteran through the PMP, either individually or in partnership with another Livery Company
- Making a £1,500 contribution to fund a veteran through Lifeworks
- Making a donation of any amount
- Putting on an event in support of the LMBCL
- Advertising the Lunch events and activities to their members
- Running a Livery Company selling stall on the day of the Lunch
What is a Ward Club and how do they support the Lunch?
City of London Ward Clubs are civil society organisations based in the wards of the City of London. You can see which Ward Clubs support the Lunch here. Ward Clubs support the Lunch through various channels. These include:
- Making a £1,500 contribution to fund a veteran through Lifeworks
- Making a donation towards the Lunch.
- Buying tickets on behalf of their members to the Lunch.
- Advertising the Lunch to their members.
Are there any other events linked with The Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch?
Yes, there are a number 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 January or February 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 is followed by 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 Georgia Cantwell on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to book several tickets, but don't yet know the names of my guests - do I need to fill out all their details?
No - at this stage you can simply leave the guest names section blank. We will need their names by 11th March 2022.
Do you need the addresses of all my guests?
No - we will send all the tickets out to the main booker.
I want to book tickets for a group and take advantage of the corporate area. Can I do this directly?
Yes - call Katy Wildman on 0207 811 3201 or Georgia Cantwell on 0207 811 3202 or e-mail using email@example.com
Do group attendees need to bring identification?
Each attendee will need to bring along their ticket and photo ID.
What are the main timings on the day?
12.00pm The Lunch Opens
12.30pm First Lunch sitting begins in the Great Hall
1.15pm Second Lunch sitting begins in the Great Hall
2.00pm Third Lunch sitting begins in the Great Hall
2.45pm Prizes are drawn in the Old Library
3.00pm The Lunch Closes
What else goes on at the Lunch?
- Diamond and Champagne Bar: Each glass of Pol Roger champagne purchased gives you entry to a draw to win a diamond pendant designed and made by Susannah Lovis. A glass of champagne is £20, three glasses for £50 or a bottle for £100.
- Watch and Cocktail Bar: Each Coq d’Argent cocktail purchased gives you entry to a draw to win a bespoke hand-made watch from Harold Pinchbeck. One cocktail is £20, four cocktails are £50 or eight cocktails are £100.
- Prize Draw: In the Old Library and Livery Hall you will find opportunities to take part in the draw. The draw allows you to put your ticket in the ‘pot’ for the draw prize you particularly want. Staff will be selling draw tickets throughout the Lunch, at £20 each, or three tickets for £50 or seven for £100.
- Silent Auction: This year’s prizes for the silent auction promise to be spectacular. Further details will be released in February 2020. The online auction will close at midnight before the Lunch and the highest bid online will become the opening bid at the Lunch. You can take part in the bidding throughout the Lunch, using big stands in the Old Library, Livery Hall and East Crypt or bid using your phone and going to the auction website. If you must leave the Lunch before bidding closes at 3.00 pm, maximum bids can be left during the Lunch on the system.
- Coffee and chocolates from Capital Coffee are available in the Old Library to enjoy after Lunch.
- Livery Company Selling stalls: There are several Livery Stalls selling a range of items, including flowers, fresh fruit, Charity merchandise and signed books
What are the specific lunch sitting times?
There are 3 specific sittings for Lunch in the Great Hall. These are at:
- 12:30 pm
- 1:15 pm
- 2:00 pm
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. Guests are welcome to stay for the duration of the Lunch (12 pm- 3 pm) and take part in all the activities available. When booking your tickets, please specify which sitting you would prefer.
Will I receive a printed ticket in the post?
Yes, if you book before 18th March 2022, we will post out official printed tickets in the post. If you book after 11th March 2022 please bring a copy of your confirmation email with you on the day to use as your ticket.
Can I arrive earlier than my specified Lunch Sitting time?
Yes, all activities open at 12 noon irrespective of your Lunch sitting time and will be open until the end of the Lunch. We just ask guests to go to lunch in the Great Hall at a specific time (12:30 pm, 1:15 pm or 2:00 pm) as each Lunch sitting has a carefully managed capacity.
Is there reserved seating?
No, there is no reserved seating in the Great Hall.
Is the venue suitable for guests with accessibility needs?
The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch welcomes guests and volunteers with disability. The Guildhall building has a number of different levels but is well-prepared for those in a wheelchair and their companions. There are passenger lifts, chair lifts and disabled WCs around the building. If you would like to discuss your specific needs before attending the Lunch, please contact Georgia Cantwell at LMBC@soldierscharity.org or on 02078113202. On the day of the Lunch, if you wish to do so, please speak to a member of the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity staff team and they will be happy to help you in any way they can
Does the Curry Lunch have a sustainability policy?
The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch Committee takes great care to follow the lead set out in the City of London’s Vision and Policies on Sustainability.
In terms of the lunch menu offered, our supplier is Noon Products, the largest supplier of Asian food products to the UK grocery trade. Noon Products works closely with most of the large supermarket chains and sets the highest standards for its sourcing. We have negligible food waste.
In line with the policies of the Corporation and Party Ingredients, the City catering company that oversees the Lunch at Guildhall on behalf of the Corporation, we do not use single-use plastic at the Lunch, the purified still and sparkling water we offer both use tap water, our coffee is Fair Trade and all glass bottles are recycled.
The Corporation and Party Ingredients are both London Living Wage employers.