The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch celebrated its 10th year anniversary in 2017. Last year’s splendid event brought in over 1,000 attendees and raised a whopping £189,000. This brought the total money raised over the past decade to an impressive £1.7 million.
Not to be outdone, this year’s event in April at London’s Guildhall attracted an astonishing 1,300 attendees with high hopes to break the £2 million fund ceiling.
So, what is The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch? It’s the largest, single fundraising event in London that supports the Army Benevolent Fund (a.k.a. The Soldier’s Charity). It is also the only charity each Lord Mayor supports in succession, as well as the charities he/she selects for their year.
The event itself starts at midday with three 45-minute sittings. Fare includes unlimited curry, beer and wine. There’s also a silent auction with these prizes: a private wine tasting for 10 people; the chance for six people to open Tower Bridge (in control of the full sequence under a Bridge Technical Officer’s supervision); a day for four with the Mounted Branch of the City of London Police; and even two places in the Worshipful Company of Woolmen’s sheep drive.
The British Army’s National charity, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity exists to offer lifetime support to soldiers, veterans and their families. Established in 1944 as the Army Benevolent Fund, it has helped countless folk in our Army family with courage, loyalty and selflessness. Money raised goes directly to soldiers, veterans and their immediate families who need support. ABF is vital in providing help in many ways, from housing and mobility equipment to skills training for discharged personnel. The charity also provides a life time of support, i.e., last year ABF helped a 107 year old widow with care home costs and aid for a two year old disabled child.
The prestige of the lunch is such that in 2016 Prince Harry came on board for the first time. As a veteran himself, he’s actively involved in similar charitable endeavours. After he made a statement supporting the lunch, he joked that his father would’ve loved to have been there, mainly because he loves a good curry!
Prince Harry: “I am keenly aware of the significant” contribution this event makes to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and their ability to support soldiers and veterans, both regulars and reservists, who” have served in conflicts from the 1940s through to Iraq and Afghanistan. And, their families.”
This year the Royal Guest of Honour was Princess Eugenie of York, who took time out from planning her wedding this October. Princess Eugenie, whose father Prince Andrew of York served in the Falklands War in 1983, reminded everyone that 100 years on as we “continue to reflect on the First World War, none of us will forget that unbroken tradition of service and dedication provided by the Armed Forces of the Crown and the tremendous work done by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the Naval and Royal Marines Charity and the RAF Benevolent Fund”.
Buying a lunch ticket and enjoying your curry is both enjoyable and a great help, but this event could not have taken place without its loyal sponsors and supporters, of which the City of London played an integral part. The event is a veritable Who’s Who of Livery Company supporters from The Worshipful Company of Actuaries to the Worshipful Company of World Traders. The event’s main sponsor was British American Tobacco, plus others like Cobra Lager and Heroes Vodka. Associate sponsorship was provided by London Metal Exchange LME (a part of the City since 1877 though some trace origins to 1571). The financial sector was represented by supporting sponsors Fenchurch Advisory and Barnett Waddingham.
The Big Curry Lunch combines participants from the City’s social and economic elite with London’s most historic and iconic institutions and livery companies. Proceeds of the Lunch support the fine work of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the Naval and Royal Marines Charity and the RAF Benevolent Fund.