- Honorary Assistants’ Dinner – HQS Wellington – Thursday 13th April 2017
- Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch – Guildhall – Thursday 6th April 2017
- United Guilds Service – St Paul’s Cathedral, Friday 31st March 2017
- Fresh Produce Journal – March 2017
- The Fruiterers’ Conference Thursday 16th March – 1 Great George St
The venue for this year’s Honorary Assistants’ Dinner was HQS Wellington.
The Clerk kindly provided the following background information:
The purpose of this annual dinner is to allow incoming Honorary Assistants (who take up their duties at the Audit Court in May) to meet the existing incumbents to get a better idea of what the rôle entails and then to float (after all they were on the Thames) any concerns they may have and raise questions about the Company, from the way it is run to its finances, and anything in between.
After a welcome drink on the Quarterdeck everyone adjourned to the Court Room for Dinner
Following Dinner the floor was thrown open to the Honorary Assistants to raise any issues that they consider should be aired with the Master, Wardens and Past Masters. It is always stimulating for the Officers and members of the Master’s Committee to hear opinions from those nearer the members of the Livery – it is far too easy for those who are in positions of authority to loose touch so these meetings are vital to bring them back down to earth, even if they were all on a River!
Once again the Fruiterers supported the Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch, an annual event held to raise funds for ABF – The Soldiers’ Charity (formerly the Army Benevolent Fund).
All the produce on the wonderful displays was donated by those that erected and staffed their own stalls free of any charge:
all ably supported by “market girls” from Liveryman Sue Handy’s School of Dancing
His Royal Highness was amused to discover that Liveryman Sue Handy had taught his two daughters at her School
HRH then moved on to examine Liveryman Peter Thomas’s display
and, finally, Liveryman Chris Newenham explains Tiptree’s latest offerings, fruit gins
HRH then departed leaving others to enjoy their lunch!
The guard of Honour was formed by The Light Cavalry of the Honorary Artillery Company
The serious business of eliciting donations from the diners as they left the Hall then began. As soon as the final figure that the Fruiterers passed to ABF, The Soldiers’ Charity is confirmed it will be announced on this website.
Nothing would have been possible without the generosity of New Spitalfields Market, Rodanto, Peter Thomas, Tiptree and Belazu. Not to say the persuasive skills of the “Market Girls” who managed to conjure donations from the most unlikely of people in exchange for strawberries and fruit baskets! They were supported in their efforts by Past Masters, the Upper Warden, Liverymen, an Apprentice, the Honorary Fruit Porter, wives and others too numerous to mention.
Special mention should be made of Past Master Peter Cooper who once again masterminded the whole event on our behalf, many thanks, Peter.
The United Guilds Service is one of the most colourful events in the Livery year.
The Lord Mayor and his Sheriffs are joined by the Masters and Wardens of every Livery Company, all clothed in their multi-coloured robes. Sadly no photos are allowed within the Cathedral so we are unable to show the full glory of this event.
Firstly there is a procession of the Masters of twenty four Companies, the great twelve plus others selected in turn. This year the procession was led by our very own Beadle, Ted Prior, acting as the Beadle to the Mercers, a great honour well deserved by Ted. We assume that the fanfare was for him and him alone!
Yet another fanfare greets a second procession, at the rear of which is the Lord Mayor and his Beadle.
The service that follows will be familiar to anyone with an Anglican upbringing.
This year the Sermon was given by the The Right Reverend Christopher Chessun, Lord Bishop of Southwark. He drew on the text of the second lesson that featured the parable of the good Samaritan. Into this the Bishop wove the events of the recent terrorist outrage in Westminster and his own cancelled meeting with one of the Ministers who, instead of meeting the Bishop, went to the aid of the stricken policeman. In turn, the Bishop returned to his Cathedral to hold an impromptu service for all those involved.
It was a relevant and poignant reminder of our responsibilities to each other and related back to the origins of the service in 1943. To quote the service sheet “The idea behind the service was to help lift the spirits of the City following the Blitz”. Our situation is nowhere near as grave as in 1943 but the need to unite is as relevant now as it was then.
After the service everyone then departed in turn, each to their own lunch venue.
These occasions are fundamental to the fellowship within the Company and also give us a great opportunity to meet and get to know members of other Companies.
Our thanks are due to the Master & Clerk of the Stationers for organising such a splendid lunch – we all departed well fed and “watered”.
In this latest article by our Master he writes about his Banquet in Mansion House, the City Food Lecture and the Pancake Race.
To read the whole article click on this link: Master’s comments in the March edition of the Fresh Produce Journal
“Navigating turbulence in the produce supply chain and beyond” proved a popular topic when the Fruiterers held their first conference for over 10 years in the wonderful facilities provided at 1 Gt George St, home of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
Leading figures from the industry gathered to hear a wide range of speakers both from the Fresh Produce Industry and also from Academia.
After being welcomed by the Master – Dennis Surgeon – the Keynote Address was given by Rt. Hon J Michael Jack, CBE, PC. Michael gave a very wide ranging talk based on his own experiences in industry and government.
This was followed by Prof Bill Davies CBE of Lancaster University who talked about climate change and its potential impacts. Some of the slides he showed painted a picture that should concern all of us.
Then came the first of three panel discussions chaired by Minette Batters (Deputy President of the NFU) with input from the speakers who were joined by Andrew Burgess (Produce World), Richard Harnden (Berry Gardens) and Dr Tina Barsby (NIAB/EMR).
Following a short coffee break Ali Capper of the NFU gave a brief outline of the key issues facing fruit growers. This was followed by John Pelham of Andersons, Midlands, who talked about using better business and technical techniques to counter the pincer effect of inflating costs while suffering static or declining prices.
John Shropshire, OBE was the final speaker of the morning. He presented a case study from G’s that demonstrated how his company was mitigating the impact of the minimum wage (amongst other influences). The methods he illustrated included diverting salad onion production to Senegal, using Ukrainian workers in Poland, production to Spain and the increased use of mechanisation wherever possible.
Minette Batters then chaired the second discussion of the morning before we all adjourned for lunch.
The afternoon started with an introduction by David Smith CBE (City of London Corporation).
Prof David Hughes of Imperial College then gave a wide-ranging talk about the marketplace including the psychology of the consumer. Startling statistics were presented about the number of meals either taken alone or with a maximum of two.
John Giles (Promar International) then facilitated an illuminating discussion with a panel consisting of Tony Reynolds (Reynolds), Sharon Affleck (G’s Fresh Ltd.) Jack Ward (British Growers Association), Charlotte Knowles (BerryWorld UK) and Ali Capper (NFU).
After a short break for tea, Barry Evans of Cardiff University Business School described how the industry could improve efficiency in the supply chain. He used examples of studies undertaken by his department that should prove useful to all sectors in the industry.
Kevin Bix of Barclays Agriculture then talked about the banking world’s view of financing the sector. The overall impression given was that the banks see agriculture as a worthwhile investment and they will continue to support it.
The final panel discussion was chaired by David Smith and included all the afternoon’s speakers.
The conference was then summed up by David Hughes and closed by the Master.
During all the panel discussions the questions were both penetrating and insightful, coming from all sections of the Hall and via a sli-do account.
The Fresh Produce Journal online had two articles on the conference and these can be found at http://www.fruitnet.com/fpj/article/171693/turbulence-is-nothing-new-says-ex-mp
and by following this link you can view the presentations https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1cydrj9s6lowybv/AABR9cqVpN3WZTn2AJgCbDHQa?dl=0
Our thanks are due to our sponsors: Bayer, the Fresca Group, Agri Intelligence, The New Spitalfields Market Tenants Association, Rathbones, Haygrove, Reynolds Catering UK and Wright Hassall without whose support the Fruiterers would not have been able to stage this event.
Thanks also to our organising team of Liverymen & Apprentices Sarah Calcutt, Tommy Leighton, Alice Parker, John Giles and Dan Jolly, ably led by Graham Collier.
Our thanks too to the team at 1 Gt George St, especially Nicola Gazmuri-Symmes who helped to set the whole conference, the technical Ammitt who made sure the presentations went faultlessly and the catering team.
Always an eventful and enjoyable event the Inter-Livery Pancake race – organised by the Poulters (with lemons generously donated by the New Spitalfields Market to the Fruiterers who handed them on to the organisers) – takes place annually on Shrove Tuesday in the Guildhall Yard in the presence of the Lord Mayor.
The rules are simple (?), teams of four are entered into the race, each participant must “run” the length of the Yard stopping only to toss their pancake in the allotted space before returning to the start, only pausing for another toss on the way.
All contestants must be dressed in an apron and cook’s hat for the whole duration of their “run”. Failure to be so attired during and at the end incurred a 20 second penalty. If a “runner” drops his or her pancake he or she must go back to retrieve it.
The first race is started by a gun supplied by the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers. The huge bang this produces was enough to disrupt the nearby Mayor’s and City of London Court, being presided over by our Past Master His Hon Judge Cryan, who had to adjourn the sitting!
Sadly our lady runner was injured on the day before the race so we were a three man team
Harry was dressed appropriately for the Lord Mayor’s chosen Charity but lost out in the fancy dress competition to a pipe organ!
We also suffered similar humiliation in the races with our Master coming second in his race
Gerry Edwards dropping his pancake and having to go back to retrieve it
and Harry losing his hat and being disqualified
But, as always, we did win the race into the Crypt for lunch!
This is a wonderful event with opportunities to meet and mingle with other Livery Companies – it is only sad that it is so badly supported by our Members. Let’s try harder next year to support our Master and Membership and Communications Committee.
Once again the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers was one of seven “Food Related” Livery Companies which joined together to organise what has become an annual event. The other companies are the Bakers, Butchers, Cooks, Farmers, Fishmongers and Poulters.
The Princess Royal was again in attendance and gave the closing address, always one of the highlights of the event as HRH is always to the point and perceptive. She always makes her spontaneous speech relevant – an enviable talent that no speech writer could match.
Rather than give a detailed report of the lecture we direct you to the City Food Lecture website:
where a full report can be found.
Once again we gathered in Mansion House for our Annual Banquet.
This is always the first official event hosted by the new Master, only days after his installation on St Paul’s Day.
Musical entertainment was provided throughout by The Militaire Orchestra ending, in accordance with tradition, with the Post Horn Gallop, with horns played at either end of the Egyptian Hall by Roy Bilham and Terence Kallend, competitive to the end!
After a splendid meal the Master proposed the toast to the Lord Mayor, the City of London Corporation and the Sheriffs. Unfortunately the Lord Mayor was on overseas duty but he was ably represented by former Lord Mayor Alderman Sir David Wootton who responded to this toast.
Next Past Master Will Sibley had the unenviable task of proposing the toast to the numerous official guests – not an easy exercise with so many distinguished guests wanting to attend our Banquet – a tribute to the hospitality for which the Fruiterers are rightly famous.
The response was given by the Solicitor General, The Rt. Hon. Mr Robert Buckland QC., MP who was thoughtful and entertaining in turns.
Finally the toast to the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers was given by our Clerk, Lt. Col. Philip Brown – “Root and Branch” appeared to be in fine health as we all departed after another splendid Banquet.
As is customary, the Court of the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers gathered at the Innholders’ Hall to install the new Wardens (John Warner as Upper and Cheryl Roux as Renter) for the ensuing Livery year.
They then moved to St Mary, Abchurch. There they were joined other members of the Livery and their partners for a service of thanksgiving and for the incoming Master, Dennis Surgeon, to take his oath of office.
Everyone then returned to the Innholders’ Hall for a reception and lunch. This is normally hosted by the outgoing Master but, sadly, Stephen Bellamy-James was unable to attend due to illness and his place was taken by his immediate predecessor, Rupert Best.
At the end of the lunch, PM Best clothed the new Master in his gown and handed over the Master’s badge, the Company Bible and a copy of our Charter.
Usually the outgoing Master then addresses the assembled company but in his absence his wife, Rita, read his speech (apart from the parts where Stephen so rightly praised her for her support and also the contribution she had made as Mistress during his year!). It was very regrettable that Stephen was not present to receive the thanks for his very successful and entertaining year but we are sure that Rita passed on our thanks.
This year our Master chose the splendid surroundings of the Painted Hall in the Old Naval College, Greenwich as the venue for our Summer Court.
Guest of Honour was The Rt Hon. The Lord Trimble, perhaps better known as David Trimble, former First Minister of Northern Ireland and leader of the Ulster Unionist Party. Also present were the Master Poulter (R Kemp Esq.) the Master Barber (G Preston Esq.) and the Master Wax Chandler (Dr A Mair) with their wives.
For more information on The Painted Hall please go to: www.ornc.org/paintedhall