Malvern Autumn Show – Three Counties Agricultural Society – 23rd & 24th September 2017


Once again the Company contributed to the cost of this show, and our stand was prominent in the Orchard Pavilion.

The Upper Warden, John Warner, Liveryman Graham Collier and Past Master Peter Cooper

The Upper Warden, John Warner, Liveryman Graham Collier and Past Master Peter Cooper

Robert Bernays OBE, President of the Three Counties Agricultural Society for 2017 is on the left and Patrick Downes, County Director of Gloucestershire on the right of PM Peter Cooper

Visitors to our stand included Robert Bernays OBE, President of the Three Counties Agricultural Society for 2017 – left – and Patrick Downes, County Director of Gloucestershire – right – with PM Peter Cooper.

Liveryman Graham Collier is our main “link” with this show and it is thanks to his hard work that the Company has such a high profile.

Graham, ably assisted by Hon Asst. Ian Adams on the Saturday and his wife Liveryman Rosemary Collier on the Sunday of the Show, prepared over 1000 samples of Perry to be tasted and voted upon. As you can see from the photo this drew quite a crowd!

We run the "Peoples' Choice Perry Competition"

We run the “Peoples’ Choice Perry Competition”

The winner this year was Tom Oliver.

The winner of the Perry Peoples Choice Award, Tom Olive being presented with the Bowl by Alys Fowler from Gardeners World (among other things) with Liveryman Graham Collier in front of our stand.

The winner of the Perry Peoples Choice Award, Tom Oliver being presented with his trophy by Alys Fowler from Gardeners World (among other things) with Liveryman Graham Collier in front of our stand.

The Upper Warden and his wife, Mavis, were lucky enough to be invited to the President’s Lunch.

Photo courtesy of Malvern Autumn

John & Mavis Warner with the President of the Three Counties Agricultural Society, Robert Bernays OBE DL (photo courtesy of Malvern Autumn)

The Show is also host to the Canna UK National Giant Vegetables Championship (sponsored by Canna) and four world records were set this year – heaviest chilli (0.348 kg) from Kevin Fortey, longest chilli ( 401mm) from Ian Neale, and the longest parsnip (6.55m) and longest radish (6.703m) both from Joe Atherton


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See the gallery below for other exhibits in this part of the Show.


Other exhibits were more conventional!

This show is very different from the Royal Bath and West Show and a visit is highly recommended. You will be made most welcome and have a very enjoyable day!

Tree Planting – HHA/Christie’s Garden of the Year – Helmingham Hall – 11th September 2017


This year it was Helmingham Hall in Suffolk that was the winner of the Historic Houses Association/Christie’s Garden of the year award. A house on this site has been in the Tollemache family for well over 500 years.

The current incumbents are Lord Timothy & Lady Alexandra (Xa) Tollemache who had graciously lowered the drawbridge – yes the house is surrounded by a moat and the drawbridges at the front and rear are lowered every morning and raised every evening, better protection than a burglar alarm! – to let in a large party of Fruiterers.

Past Master Sykes with Lady and Lord Tollemache

Past Master Sykes with Lady and Lord Tollemache

The House is not normally open to the public but we were given a wonderful tour of part of the interior by Lord Tollemache. The fact that he and Lady Tollemache were due to move out in two days’ time did not seem to concern him at all!

After the tour we went into the garden to plant the tree.




The Master was ably assisted by both Lord and Lady Tollemache as well as their long-term Head Gardener, Roy Balaam.


Click on the portfolio below to view the spectators!

We have been here before!

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Following the tree planting we went into the Coach House Tea Rooms where a splendid buffet lunch had been laid on.

After lunch we were then given a tour of the winning garden by Lady Tollemache. She is an extremely talented garden designer in her own right having won a Gold Medal at Chelsea and she credits Helmingham Hall as being the inspiration that set her on that path.


Here is not the place to give an in depth guide to the garden, for that please visit Helmingham Hall’s website:

On that site you can see numerous stunning photographs but one you won’t see is that of the group who much enjoyed their visit and the hospitality of “Tim & Xa”!


Fresh Produce Journal – August 2017 Edition

In this latest article The Master writes about the Summer Court and the Company visit to the RHS Garden at Hyde Hall together with details of his various invitations from other Livery Companies.

To read this article please click on this link: Master’s comments in the August edition of the Fresh Produce Journal

Master’s visit to RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Thursday 20th July 2017


Members of the Company and their guests joined the Master at RHS Garden Hyde Hall for a tour of the grounds guided by Gardeners Tom and Andrew.


Not only were numerous plants, shrubs and trees seen but also these sculptures by Carole, wife of Liveryman Peter Andrews.



After the tour everyone retired to a Marquee for a drinks reception and lunch which was, by coincidence, supervised by a nephew of Past Master Peter Cooper!

A vote of thanks was proposed by Past Master John Price and applauded by all present.


After lunch there was plenty of time for further exploration of the 300 acres that comprise this garden.

Although grey skies were overhead luckily the rain held off and the visit was considered a great success by all who attended.


Summer Court Dinner, Drapers’ Hall – Thursday 13th July 2017


This year’s Summer Court Dinner was held in the magnificent surroundings of the Drapers’ Hall. Tucked away behind the Hall is a wonderful courtyard and, as we were blessed with perfect weather the Master was able to hold the drinks reception outside.

The Courtyard

The Courtyard

We then went into the Livery Hall for a three course dinner of Crab and Avocado, Beef Wellington and Tarte Tatin, rounded off by cherries from Past Master Dawes famous orchard.


The response to the toast to the guests was given by the former Crown Jeweller, David Thomas MVO who gave a fascinating insight into the roles and responsibilities of that post.

Former Crown Jeweller David Thomas MVO with his wife.

Former Crown Jeweller David Thomas MVO with his wife.


Hopefully the following gallery of photos demonstrates the wonderful ambience of the reception in the Courtyard and how much everyone enjoyed themselves.

At the Court Meeting before the dinner we welcomed three new Freemen

The new Freemen. Robert Pascall, Sandra Worsdall and Prof Tim Wheeler

The new Freemen. Robert Pascall, Sandra Worsdall and Prof Tim Wheeler

and our new Honorary Liveryman, our former Chaplain

The new Honorary Liveryman (our former Chaplain) The Reverend Canon Nigel Abbott and his wife Elizabeth

The new Honorary Liveryman (our former Chaplain) The Reverend Canon Nigel Abbott and his wife Elizabeth

Fresh Produce Journal, 14th July 2017

Once again our Master has put pen to paper to produce his regular page in the Fresh Produce Journal.

This time he highlights the volume of apples produced for cider making as opposed to dessert apples, our trip to France, the Election of Sheriffs and several other items.

To view the whole article please follow this link: Fresh Produce Journal 14th July 2017


The National Cherry & Soft Fruit Show – Detling – July 7th to 9th July 2017


Our Master attended this year’s National Cherry & Soft Fruit Show in the Kent Show Ground (Detling) as a judge.

He arrived at 7:15 for breakfast, in good time to start judging at 8:45.

Among the numerous other Fruiterers present were Past Masters Sandys Dawes, Tony Redsell & Henry Bryant, Honorary Assistant Matt Hancock, and Liverymen Dr James (Jim) Flegg, William Pierce, Edmund Doubleday and Paul Kelsey.

The Master reported that it has been a great year for cherries and the entries were magnificent.

He will attend the Show’s Annual Dinner later in the year to present the trophies and diplomas.

Election of the Sheriffs – Monday 26th June 2017

Once again Liverymen from all Companies were summoned to attend Common Hall in Guildhall to elect the Sheriffs for the coming year.

You may recall that last year there were two Aldermanic Sheriffs this year everything reverted to normal with one Aldermanic and one non-Aldermanic Sheriff standing. Timothy Hailes was the former and Neil Redcliffe the latter. Both were duly elected by a show of hands.

Unfortunately only 8 Fruiterers took part in the election this year, The Master and his Wardens, 3 Past Masters , only 1 of our 8 Honorary Assistants and only one Liveryman.

Past Master Peter Cooper, Liveryman Sarah Calcutt, Past Master Rupert Best, the Upper Warden, the Master, the Renter WArden

Past Master Peter Cooper, Liveryman Sarah Calcutt, Past Master Rupert Best, the Upper Warden, the Master, the Renter Warden

We then adjourned to the Stationers’ Hall for lunch.

The newly elected Sheriffs, Alderman Tim Hales and Neil Redcliffe

The newly elected Sheriffs, Alderman Tim Hailes and Neil Redcliffe thank those that helped to elect them from the balcony above the Courtyard at the Stationers’ Hall

The Master’s trip to France – 5th-9th June 2017

There is a first appearance of photo galleries in this post – click on the arrows to see further photos as they appear – hopefully! Your webmanager is still learning – maybe a very old dog can still learn new tricks?!

Anyway, here is where we start….

Arriving by plane, car and train some 30 people gathered at the Le Vieux Castillon hotel in Castillon-du-Gard


for the start of a most enjoyable 4 night stay in the Languedoc area of France.

On the first night we were joined by Past Master Eric Fraunfelter and his wife Harriet who, by sheer co-incidence have a home in the same village and Liveryman Carlos Kearns who was staying nearby.

Before dinner we gathered by the most attractive pool for an apéritif:


The first of many such gatherings!

We then all sat down to dinner




The following day there was a small market in the village which excited (?) much interest from the growers amongst us


We then got on a coach for the trip to Chateau Perouse/COT International


We were treated to a fascinating tour of the orchard and were shown some 1000 (yes 1000) different varieties under test. Perhaps 2 or 3 will reach the market in a few years’ time, the rest will be deemed failures!

This being France we then adjourned for lunch!

After lunch we visited the Camargue area where we saw, as promised by our Master, black bulls, white horses, salt “mountains” and flamingos before strolling round the ancient town of Aigues-Mortes.

The end of our second day was an invitation to Past Master Eric Fraunfelter’s house in the village where he and his wife Harriet entertained us in typical Fruiterers fashion!



On day 3 we again boarded our coach, this time to drive to Nimes.

Starting in the Jardins de la Fontaine we visited the Temple de Diane (that has nothing to do with the Goddess Diana!), Maison Carrée, various architecturally important houses, the City Hall and, finally, the magnificent Arena. All ably explained by our guide for the whole trip, Sophie Wildbolz.

After a leisurely lunch in one of the many cafés we again boarded our bus, this time to visit a wine producer.


We were given a tour of the Cave, extremely modern with concrete and steel vessels.

Then came the hard part, we were “forced” to taste their extensive range of wines, including a very interesting red dessert wine – oh the hardship!


On our return to the hotel we had another drinks reception around the pool followed by yet another great meal.



Thursday’s visit was to Avignon via the Pont du Gard.

We got to Avignon just in time for lunch!



We then assembled at the Palais des Papes for a tour, again guided by Sophie whose knowledge was encyclopaedic.

Throughout the Palace were examples of modern art

We then had an opportunity to wander round Avignon and see the Pont made famous in the children’s nursery rhyme.


Farewell Avignon

Farewell Avignon

Back at the hotel we had our final drinks reception around the pool.

This time we had a 4 course meal with fine wines



and, as a bonus, our Clerk, Philip, showed us why he is a member of the Magic Circle. He bamboozled us all with his sleight of hand, a rare talent indeed.

Nothing in the bag....

Nothing in the bag…. how did that get there?! It's magic, as provided by our Clerk.

…now how did that get there?! It’s magic, as provided by our Clerk.

Thus ended the official part of our trip but many of us had time on the Friday for a last paddle in the pool and a farewell drink before departing for Avignon Station and Eurostar to the UK.




Our grateful and heartfelt thanks are due to our Master, Dennis, who with his wife Jan organised this flawless trip. Hopefully the stress of herding Fruiterers did not mar their enjoyment too much and we hope that they enjoyed it as much as we did – they deserved to!

Our Master, Dennis Surgeon, and the Mistress, Jan.

Our Master, Dennis Surgeon, and the Mistress, Jan.


The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch 2017 – update


You may be interested to read the report we have recently received from the organising committee of the Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch. This year the lunch raised £188000 for ABF, the Soldiers’ Charity, of which the Fruiterers raised £3630. For us to be able to donate this sum our thanks are due to the generosity of New Spitalfields Market, Belazu, Rodanto and Wilkin & Son, Tiptree.

We are also grateful to all those who helped on the day, especially the “Flower Girls” from The Susan Handy School of Dance.

To read the whole Post-Lunch Report please follow this link: Post Lunch Report

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