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

The Royal Bath & West Show – Shepton Mallet – Thursday 1st June 2017


Once again The Fruiterers had a significant presence at this year’s Royal Bath & West Show. As one of the sponsors of the Orchards and Cider Pavilion not only do we have a stand every day that the Show takes place (Wednesday to Saturday, 31st May to 3rd June 2017) we also provide one of the judges for the cider competition in the person of our Master, Dennis Surgeon.

Liveryman Adrian Padfield and the Clerk at our stand

Liveryman Adrian Padfield and the Clerk at our stand

This year the judges tasted nearly 100 different ciders from home and abroad.


The Master,  together with “celebrity” judge Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs fame, was tutored by two expert judges (Helen Thomas – Chief Executive of her family owned cider makers Westons, and Nick Bradstock – former Chairman of the Europe Cider Makers Organisation) to ensure that every entry was judged by the same criteria.

The Master & Kevin McCloud with judge

The Master & Kevin McCloud withHelen Thomas

Kevin McCloud in discussion with as the Master looks on

Kevin McCloud in discussion with Nick Bradstock as the Master looks on.

The success of this briefing and guidance can be seen in the fact that all four judges were unanimous in their decisions.

As the decisions were made in the various categories the winners were announced with the exception of the winner of the prestigious Fruiterers’ Cup which was a closely guarded secret until the presentation took place 3 p.m.

After they had completed their task the judges adjourned to the Council Tent for a wonderful lunch in the company of other Fruiterers, their guests, Orchards & Cider Council members and fellow Liverymen and Officers from the Pewterers’, Woolmen’s and Coopers’ Companies.

The winner of the Cup was announced to much applause. Nick Poole (who had also, that morning, won the prestigious Royal Bath & West’s Gold medal for a lifetime’s contribution to the Cider Industry) proved to be a very popular winner with his Lancombe Rising, a French style, keeved cider.

The Master presents the Fruiterers' Cup to Nick Poole

The Master presents the Fruiterers’ Cup to Nick Poole


Past Master Anthony Turnbull and his wife, Petronell

Past Master Anthony Turnbull and his wife, Petronell

Past Master Anthony Turnbull is recovering from a serious illness so it was good to see him and Petronell at the Show looking extremely fit.

For more information on the results of the cider competition please follow this link: cider-results 

(More details of the cider competition can be found at:

Audit Court Meeting and Dinner – Clothworkers’ Hall – Thursday 18th May 2017

The Clothworkers Hall

The Clothworkers Hall

The Court Room

The Court Room

This year the Audit Court was held in the Clothworkers’ Hall.

During the Court Meeting that preceded the dinner Melissa Coutinho, Robert Hinge and Harry Wooldridge were made Freemen and Freemen Anne Donoghue and Dr Dan Sargent were clothed as Liverymen.

Dr Dan Sargent and Anne Donaghue

Dr Dan Sargent and Anne Donoghue

After the Court Meeting the Members of the Company and their guests gathered in the magnificent entrance hall…..

Entrance Hall

Entrance Hall

….before being greeted by the Master & Wardens.

Renter Warden Cheryl Roux, the Master, Dennis Surgeon and Upper Warden John Warner

Renter Warden Cheryl Roux, the Master, Dennis Surgeon and Upper Warden John Warner

The Company and their guests gather for a preprandial drink

The Company and their guests gather for a preprandial drink


The Livery Hall

The Livery Hall


This year the welcome to the guests was (as is custom) given by the Renter Warden and the response was by Dato’ Mohammad Faiz Azmi, Executive Chairman PwC Malaysia. His talk about the important and fascinating subject of Islamic Finance was extremely well received by all present.

The evening was then rounded off by a Stirrup Cup.

Thus ended a well attended and thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Inter-Livery Clay Pigeon Shoot – 17th May 2017

Once again the Fruiterers entered a team in this annual event at the Holland and Holland Shooting Grounds, Northwood, Middx.

We understand that the weather was distinctly inclement and this may well have affected our performance with our team only finishing 28th equal this year, a drop of 7 places from last year.

As last year, our team was led by Liveryman Chris Newenham, with Stephen Hyam (who came 16th overall – a magnificent effort), Charlie Hodges and Dan Jolly making up the team.

Even if they were disappointed with the team result the rest of the Company are proud of them – 28th equal isn’t at all bad out of over 100 entries.

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