13 February: The Annual Banquet at Mansion House. The opportunity to extend high-level hospitality to the Lord Mayor and sheriffs, fellow livery companies, senior members of the Church, the Armed Forces, the legal profession, the police and, of course, the fruit industry. Some 250 attended this year, where the guest speaker was the Right Honourable the Baroness Hale of Richmond, president of the Supreme Court. The annual banquet is the occasion when the company makes one of its three principal awards, and this year the Lewis Award for the Marketing of Fresh Fruit was presented to John Breach for his tireless efforts on behalf of the industry [Objectives 1, 4 and 5].
17 February: The Old Bailey. While the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress make their home at the Mansion House for the year in office, the two sheriffs make theirs at the Old Bailey. By way of reciprocal hospitality, I was invited to lunch with the sheriffs and the judges and then sat in on one of the cases in the afternoon. Each year the Sheriffs’ & Recorder’s Fund, founded in 1808, gives small grants to ex-prisoners and their families in London, to help them stop offending and start a new life. It is one of our chosen charities [Objectives 3 and 4].
26 February: The City Food Lecture. Proud to say that it was the Fruiterers’ who started this series of top-level lectures under the leadership of Past Master Laurence Olins in 2001. Liveryman John Giles now fills that position with honorary assistant Chris White chairing the panel [Objective 1].
5 March: Pancake Racing at Guildhall Yard. Oh dear, I hear you cry, why on Earth? There are a number of occasions when livery companies join together, principally to support charity, and this one is the initiative of the Poulters’ company. Entries are only allowed from those companies who can contribute materially to the event, thus the eggs are supplied by the Poulters, lemons by ourselves, pans by the Blacksmiths, starting pistols by the Gunmakers, timing the heats is the responsibility of the Clockmakers etc. All good fun and proceeds go to the Lord Mayor’s charity [Objectives 3 and 5].
12 March: New Liveryman’s Evening at The Don Restaurant. A very informal occasion when my wardens (David Simmons and George Smith) and I, along with a few Past Masters and the chairmen of the membership, finance and awards council, met recently joined members of the company. On this occasion, some liverymen brought along potential new members who had the opportunity of gaining a better understanding of the company [Objective 5].
13 March: Fresh Careers Fair at Business & Design Centre, Islington. The company was pleased to be able to support the fair and to widen public knowledge of our support to the wider industry [Objective 2].
Fruiterers' Company Objectives
1. To promote excellence across all sectors of the fruit industry.
2. To support education and research within the fruit industry.
3. To be active in raising funds and giving to charity.
4. To support and promote the City of London.
5. To foster a spirit of good fellowship and encourage new membership.