Tobacco Trade Lunch at Lords

Wednesday 15th June 2016

This happy and worthy occasion is co-organised annually by Past Master Roger Merton - it always draws a crowd and, despite gloomy forecasts to the contrary, nearly always shines. The lunch always starts in the Harris Garden where liberal amounts of champagne is drunk and a selection of good tobacco smoked - mostly, but not exclusively, cigars. It was therefore most appropriate that our Livery not only put in an excellent turnout (perhaps fifteen in total?), but those who remembered to bring them sported our new smoking hat - very handy with the sun as it happens! I had to borrow Senior Warden Ralph Edmonson's for part of it, thank you Ralph. It was also very good to see Assistant David Lewis looking so well again. Approximately 230 attended this year and, as we were being guided to dine in the Thomas Lord Suite, I was introduced to the AITS Chairman Parish Patel, and Guest of Honour and speaker, the irrepressible Brian Conley. Once seated and the formalities observed, we enjoyed a fine lunch of braised ox cheek and then, after a short break, I presented the Livery Prize for the Retailer of the Year - Chris Aston of Manchester was winner in 2010 and his fine and well organised premises had done it again - well done Chris. My modest role aside, Brian Conley then took the floor and gave us what must have been at least 45 minutes of high-octane comedy - stand up, magic and plenty of songs - some with "assistance", it was very amusing, the right side of slightly naughty and I suspect there was a lot more where that came from! Next we had the raffle - every table had an envelope into which each diner placed £10 and was given sealed envelope containing a number - you may imagine my joy when a fine humidor with a selection of Davidoff cigars was picked with my number on it! I am enjoying a Petit Robusto as I type this - I hope Ralph is as lucky next year. The whole day raised in excess of £14,000 for the charity - well done Roger and team.